Issued speculative “personal” opinion
As detailed here before, within hours of my posting about Elizabeth Warren’s lack of a Massachusetts law license, Michael Fredrickson, the General Counsel of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, gave an interview to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in which he defended Warren.
Fredrickson did not indicate in the interview as reported that he was speaking in any capacity other than on behalf of the BBO and seemed to be exonerating Warren.
That Mass Lawyers Weekly interview has been the basis for the defense of Warren. After all, if the General Counsel of the entity with quasi-regulatory authority publicly announced a conclusion, why treat the issue seriously? Even The Boston Globe has a similar quote from Fredrickson today, and uses that quote to dismiss the issue out of hand.
Yet the issue is serious, as even people who did not initially agree with me have acknowledged.
Fredrickson effectively quashed the public discussion by virtue of his title and position.
Fredrickson later admitted, however, that he was not speaking on behalf of the BBO and was not reaching any conclusions as to Warren individually because he knew so little about her practice:
Fredrickson confirmed that he did make the comments attributed to him in MLW, but also made clear that he was not speaking on behalf of the BBO.
Fredrickson said it was his “personal reading” of the law, and that he was “not speaking on behalf of the Board of Bar Overseers.”
Fredrickson also stated, in response to my question, that he was not speaking on behalf of the Bar Counsel, the office vested with investigatory and prosecutorial function at the BBO. Fredrickson did indicate, though, that as a practical matter registration issues usually are referred to him.
Fredrickson stated that he did not purport to determine whether Warren violated the applicable law. He said he was just “speaking hypothetically” and not specifically as to Warren because “I know so little about Elizabeth Warren and her practice.”
Since Fredrickson’s initial interview, even more evidence has come out about Warren’s law practice, which now totals at least 22 documented court cases handled from her Cambridge office, plus other non-court case consulting she will not disclose.
Why did Fredrickson jump to Warren’s defense within hours, and why did he issue an opinion about her without making clear that he was not speaking for the BBO and that he did not have any meaningful factual basis for his conclusions?
Normally, Bar officials everywhere are very closed-mouthed about matters under their jurisdiction. Indeed, the Massachusetts Bar Counsel, a separate office which investigates and prosecutes, did not respond to requests for comment from Breitbart.com. Even Fredrickson now is refusing further comment, according to Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart.com.
While Fredrickson no longer is talking publicly, his prior “personal” opinion, which was not based on an actual knowledge of Warren’s law practice, hangs out there as the purported BBO verdict exonerating Warren. That creates a false impression which should be remedied.