Donald Trump, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. listen to Morgan Lewis attorney Sheri Dillon.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, you’re fired, client H. Scott Wallace told the firm’s leader this month in a scathing letter condemning its representation of President Donald Trump.
The letter, dated Tuesday and first reported by Politico, appears to be the first public sign of client blowback directed at Morgan Lewis over partner Sheri Dillon’s work concerning the Trump family business and the president’s duties and ethical obligations.
Addressing Morgan Lewis chair Jami Wintz McKeon, Wallace called the firm’s legal sign-off on Trump’s sons running his trust and other ethics issues “an unprecedented invitation to corruption and an assault on our democracy.”
“Americans deserve a president of undivided loyalty,” he wrote. “Your firm has denied them that. We cannot be complicit in that.”
Wallace is the grandson of Henry A. Wallace, the New Deal politician who served as vice president to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The elder Wallace founded Wallace Global Fund, a mission investing fund that supports many issues Trump does not, including climate change and protecting against a “corporatist state that concentrates power in the hands of the few.”
Tax records show the fund paid $77,433 to Morgan Lewis in the most recent fiscal year.
In his letter, H. Scott Wallace attacked Dillon’s legal work and accused Trump of using the presidency for personal gain.
Morgan & Lewis’ Dillon appeared alongside Trump at a January news conference and presented a stack of papers they said were tax documents creating a corporate structure that wouldn’t run afoul of ethical and conflict rules.
“[Trump] directed me and my colleagues at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to design a structure for his business empire that would completely isolate him from the management of the company,” Dillon said in prepared remarks at the event. “He instructed us to take all steps realistically possible to make it clear that he is not exploiting the office of the presidency for his personal benefit.”
Morgan Lewis declined to comment on Wallace’s three-and-a-half-page letter, which includes a bullet-pointed list of what he calls “ethical carnage.” The list includes China’s sign-off on Trump-related trademarks days after he voiced approval for the “One China policy; the Washington, D.C., Trump Hotel marketing to diplomats; potential connections to Russia; and a “marketing bonanza” for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, among others.
“It is painfully obvious that Trump is using his office for personal gain. And Morgan Lewis is enabling and legitimizing this,” Wallace wrote.
He continued: “The sham ‘trust’ arrangement which Morgan Lewis has blessed—enabling unchecked self-dealing, flouting of the Constitution, and concealment of the truth from the public that President Trump has sworn to serve—is fundamentally inconsistent with (the fund’s) values and, we fear, destructive to the fabric of our democracy.”