File-sharing advocates are keeping a sharp eye on Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, the former Jenner & Block partner who represented the Recording Industry Association of America and vowed at his confirmation hearing to pursue strong intellectual property enforcement at DOJ.
This recent post on the TechDirt raised alarms about whether Perrelli would be subject to a one-year or two-year ban on dealing with matters that affect his former clients.
President Obama’s stringent new ethics policy requires all administration appointees to recuse themselves for two years from matters of interest to former clients. But TechDirt found this letter on Pro Publica’s site from Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus to Robert Cusick, director of the Office of Government Ethics, saying Perrelli understands he must not participate in any matter affecting Jenner & Block clients for only one year.
Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller told Main Justice that the Loftus letter was boilerplate language that hadn’t been updated for the new policy. Miller assured us that the White House ethics policy supercedes traditional ethics guidelines in place at agencies. In short: The two-year ban applies to Perrelli and other former intellectual property lawyers who recently joined the Obama DOJ, Miller said.
Miller also said Perrelli had not requested any exemptions from the ban.