Throughout TJ’s career he has committed himself to transparency in Government. If elected Attorney General TJ will continue his commitment to transparency and one of this first acts will be to implement an independent panel to review litigation contracts with outside law firms.
Independent Panel for Litigation Contracts
In order to provide transparency to the public and encourage the careful screening of any conflicts of interests, TJ will establish a review panel to make recommendations to the Attorney General regarding the award of litigation contracts to outside entities. The citizens of Vermont should have complete faith that their interests are being represented by the best legal talent available and that the best interests of Vermonters alone will be the reason Vermont hires outside attorneys to litigate on the State’s behalf.
Litigation Contracts Panel Composition
There will be three members on this panel:
- The Executive Director of the Vermont Bar Association or a designee;
- A designee of the Attorney General; and
- A designee of the Governor.
Appointments will be for 1-year terms with the possibility of reappointment at the end of each term.
Focus and Powers of the Litigation Contracts Panel
The panel will review contract bids to evaluate any known conflicts of interest that may exist between the Attorney General’s Office or other state officers and the entities applying to represent the State in litigation. The panel will review the qualifications of the applicants soliciting the State’s business and determine if it appears the applying entities possess the skills required to represent the State in the proposed matters. The panel will have full access to campaign contribution information and other lobbying affiliations of the prospective contractors and will be tasked with evaluating this and any other information that may bear on conflicts of interest attaching to the applicant and any state office holder or employee.
This panel will meet when necessary to review bids for litigation services submitted by entities outside of Vermont state government.
The panel will make public reports to the Attorney General regarding any potential conflicts of interest connected to an applicant for litigation contracts and may make any recommendations it believes should be considered in connection with determining the award for any proposed litigation contracts. The Attorney General will retain the discretion to award all contracts within the authority of the Attorney General but, in any case where the decision to award a contract is contrary to the recommendation of the panel, the Attorney General will provide a public written statement describing the reasons for rejecting the recommendation of the panel.