Friday, July 31, 2009

Congressional Ethics and DOMA

Many of the Congressmen and Senators who voted to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are licensed attorneys. Those individuals were required to take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State where they were licensed.

In addition, the ethics rules in many states require attorneys to avoid doing anything that would undercut the rule of law.

DOMA explicitly amends the "full faith and credit" clause of the constitution. Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution may not be amended by Congressional fiat. Shouldn't the lawyers in Congress know that?

Since DOMA is clearly unconstitutional, should those attorneys who voted for it be subject to an ethics investigation and possible sanctions under attorney discipline rules?

Another One Bites the Dust -

Another UBS client has pled guilty to filing a false tax return, putting more pressure on the hold outs. The IRS's amnesty program ends in September and it looks like UBS is going to turn over a lot, if not all, of the information the IRS has summoned.

Why? Because there is now evidence that UBS committed fraud, not only in the U.S. but also in Switzerland. The latest plea agreement indicates that the defendant went to Switzerland having decided to "come clean" While there he consulted an attorney who told him not to worry about it, his name wouldn't be disclosed. After making this assurance, the defendant's Swiss attorney bribed a UBS official to keep the defendant's name off the list of UBS customer's already disclosed to the IRS. The defendant allegedly paid $40,000 to keep his name a secret.

This incident would seem to undercut UBS and Switzerland's argument that no Swiss laws have been broken and, therefore, UBS doesn't have to respond to the IRS's summons.