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Business groups took on the Justice Department last week in a filing in a New York federal court. In the brief, filed on behalf of KPMG defendants in their ongoing tax fraud prosecution, the groups described as unconstitutional DOJ policy that penalizes companies for paying the legal fees of employees who fall under government investigation. At issue is the so-called Thompson memo, which lists factors under which companies will be considered cooperating witnesses to stave off prosecution. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Bond Market Association, and the Securities Industry Association argue that the factors are too far-reaching. “If the company doesn’t have the discretion to advance the fees, these folks are effectively denied counsel because the cost of defending yourself, few people can afford,” says Fred Krebs, president of the ACC. District Judge Lewis Kaplan will address the issue this week at a hearing.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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