Lawyer Ross Day yesterday filed a complaint [PDF] with the Oregon State Bar against Attorney General John Kroger.
Although Kroger's aggressive style has prompted grumbling in legal circles, Day's complaint against Kroger is only the second lodged since Kroger took office in January 2009. (The first was hand-written and later dismissed.)
Day is upset because a Department of Justice investigator contacted his client, Smartraiser LLC, a company that has been selling "care packages" for soldiers door-to-door in Oregon. Day says that the charitable activities section of Kroger's agency had previously been in touch with him and his client after issuing a "scam alert" about Smartraiser in March, and therefore knew Smartraiser employed Day as its attorney. Day says Smartraiser is established as a for-profit company and its solicitors disclose that in their pitch and on receipts so he's puzzled by the charitable activities section's interest.
But his complaint is of a more technical nature. He says Kroger's staff violated a bar rule that prohibits contacting a lawyer's client directly. "They know full-well that I represent Smartraiser," Day says. "They have no business talking to my client."
There's some history between Day and Kroger's charitable section. Kroger is suing another Day client, the Oregon War Veterans Association after a protracted battle over that group's records. But Day does not think there is any connection between the two cases. Although Smartraiser sends care packages to soldier and OWVA also helps out soliders, the two groups have no relation, he says. Day adds that he is unaware of whether Kroger is involved in the Smartraiser matter. But since the investigator who contacted Day's client declined to say who told him to do so, Day named Kroger because he is in charge of the agency, Day says.
DOJ spokesman Tony Green says Kroger did nothing wrong.
"The Attorney General did not direct, cause, or authorize any Department of Justice employee to contact Mr. Day's clients and he was, in fact, completely unaware of the circumstances alleged in Mr. Day's letter," Green wrote in an email. "The allegations against the Attorney General are meritless. As with any ethical complaint, the Department of Justice will conduct a thorough review and cooperate with the bar fully."