Unreported: Montana Governor's 'Senior Counsel' Not Licensed to Practice Law in State! (Dem, of Course)

September 2nd, 2008 3:17 AM

There is an ethics squabble going on in Montana perpetrated by the senior counsel to the Democrat Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer. It has been revealed that the Governor's "senior counsel," a man named Eric Stern, has been caught trying to "back-door" the judge in a case in which he is involved on behalf of Governor Schweitzer. The ethics violation is bad enough, but it has also been discovered that, even though he is claimed to be an attorney and the Governor's senior counsel, Eric Stern, is not licensed to practice law in the state of Montana. This seems to say that Eric Stern is practicing law without a license, doesn’t it? Strangely, the media have not bothered to report this most important fact.

According to reports, Eric Stern "a senior official in the governor's administration" improperly contacted the commissioner of political practices "outside of official proceedings in an ongoing ethics case." In effect, Stern is accused of trying to "back-door" the judge by discussing the case outside of official proceedings, an extremely blatant ethics violation.

Commissioner Dennis Unsworth, who acts like a judge in the proceedings, said he was contacted by Gov. Brian Schweitzer's senior counsel, Eric Stern.

The conversations are not allowed outside official proceedings, according to a lawyer for the state Republican Party, who is asking for a hearing to determine what was said.

Like I said, the violation of ethical conduct by Governor Schweitzer's senior counsel is bad enough, but some bloggers have discovered something that is even more disturbing about Stern: he isn't licensed to practice law in the state of Montana.

Carol Minjares of Missoula, Montana first found out on August 19 that the Governor's senior counsel, a man who holds forth in the Governor's legal proceedings as an official operative and representative of the Governor, is not licensed to practice law in the state.

I called the Montana Bar and found out he is not licensed to practice in this state. Was he ever licensed, and if so where? If not, how can he be an attorney without a license?

How is it that the Governor's senior counsel can interact with official legal cases on behalf of the Governor is not even licensed to practice law? Worse, why have the Old Media throughout the state not investigated this and confronted the Governor about this strange status?

Perhaps because the Governor is a Democrat?

For more information, Gregg Smith from Electric City Weblog has several in depth reports on the legal implications of senior counsel Eric Stern's ethics violations. (Here and here)

Eric Stern's bio on the Governor's official website:

Eric Stern - Energy Specialist and Senior Counsel to the Governor

Eric Stern was Schweitzer's campaign manager and is an attorney and business consultant. He is a native of Teaneck, NJ, and attended Connecticut College and Columbia Law School. He worked after college at CNN in Atlanta, and then went on to serve in the Clinton Administration as a political aide to the Vice President of the United States, directing the Vice President's international and political trips; and also as a policy aide to the U.S. Secretary of Education, overseeing the political elements of important education reforms of the 1990s. He also worked on the national staff of three presidential campaigns. Stern moved to Bozeman, Montana in 2001 to do non-profit legal and environmental work, and business consulting. Prior to taking over Schweitzer's campaign, Stern directed the bid by Mexico to lure a Major League Baseball franchise, the Montreal Expos, to the city of Monterrey.

Stern is sure presented as an attorney! Yet, no license? And no news reports of the fact?

Seems quite odd, doesn't it?

(Photo credit: wired.com)