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The California Rural Legal Assistance program is accused of engaging in politics by taking on cases with an agenda rather than based on what potential clients needed. The Legal Services Corporation’s inspector general said in recently filed court documents that the publicly funded group has stonewalled the investigation by failing to turn over key documents. A preliminary report Inspector General Kirt West prepared for Congress in September noted that the organization appeared to have violated rules by lobbying and filing amicus briefs on behalf of the institution, not clients. But the inspector general’s report said that the office “could not complete its investigation” because of the organization’s failure to provide details of its client records. Lawyers for the organization are trying to intervene. In documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seven attorneys argued that turning over the documents would infringe upon attorney-client privilege. What’s more, their counsel from Morrison & Foerster wrote, it would put many clients “in danger of retaliation by private parties or the government.” Judge Emmet Sullivan has yet to rule.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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