WASHINGTON — Today, Demand Progress Education Fund (DPEF) is sending a FOIA request to the Department of Justice’s Justice Management Division, whose Ethics Office handles agency ethics and recusal questions. DPEF is requesting the following three things:
1. Ethics advice or decisions involving Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, head of the Antitrust Division;
2. Correspondence discussing ethics advice or decisions about AAG Jonathan Kanter; and
3. Scheduling information, including complete lists of attendees, for any meetings where ethics advice or decisions about AAG Jonathan Kanter were discussed.
We are sending a request following reporting from Bloomberg that Kanter has been barred from cases involving Google while the question of whether he must recuse is considered.
This is effectively creating an outcome where Kanter is recused, even if the DOJ simply sits on its hands and delays a decision. We are concerned about the pace by which the DOJ has handling the matter.
“The DOJ is currently sidelining Assistant Attorney General Kanter, preventing him from working on the Google antitrust case while it considers Google’s baseless recusal request,” said Ginger Quintero-McCall, Legal Director of Demand Progress Education Fund. “Meanwhile, with so many attorneys who left corporate clients to join the DOJ working without such scrutiny, we want to find out what is causing the delay.”
This action is of particular note given that other DOJ officials have conflicts of interest with powerful corporations that have been unaddressed. Perhaps most notable is Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, whose former clients include corporations like Humana, Lyft, Boeing, and ExxonMobil, and she has been involved in matters where former clients have an interest.
Other appointees, including Brian Boynton, Matt Olsen, Todd Kim, Kenneth Polite, Elizabeth Prelogar, Hampton Dellinger, Susan Davies, Peter Hyun, and Emily Loeb similarly have potential unaddressed conflicts.