Specter Introduces Bill to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege
Sen. Arlen Specter has introduced a much-needed bill to protect the attorney-client privilege.
The bill is titled the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2006 (ACPPA).
The ACPPA would prohibit government lawyers from forcing organizations into:
- Disclosing information protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine;
- Refusing to contribute to the legal defense of an employee;
- Refusing to enter into a joint defense strategy with an employee;
- Refusing to share relevant information with an employee; and
- Terminating or disciplining an employee.
As for why it's needed:
At a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty informed the committee that the Department of Justice was considering revising the “Thompson Memorandum,” which directs federal prosecutors to weigh whether a company will agree to not pay employees attorneys fee and waive the attorney client privilege when deciding whether charges will be filed against the corporation. Since the mere indictment of a company can be the effective equivalent of the corporate “death penalty” in the marketplace, companies have been coerced by federal prosecutors into surrendering important constitutional rights. A consequence of the Justice Department’s arrogance in corporate investigations has been adoption of these unfair tactics by federal regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The ACPPA would apply to all government lawyers, not just employees of the Department of Justice.
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