OPPOSING PROPOSED AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION RESTRICTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY ATTORNEYS

WHEREAS, the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association (the ABA) is scheduled to consider at its annual meeting in August 1997 a proposal of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York which resolution would generally ban law firms with municipal bond practices from engaging in public finance transactions for two years, if such firms or any of their lawyers make or solicit political contributions to officials of issuers of municipal securities or related political party organizations;

WHEREAS, the July 24, 1997 edition of The Bond Buyer reported that a revised resolution will be offered at the August ABA meeting, which would expand the focus of the resolution to all attorneys; would assume, without justification, that the practice of attorneys is to make political campaign contributions to public officials in return for being considered eligible by public agencies to perform professional services, and would call for specific action to prohibit this alleged practice and for a study of such issues;

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's existing Ethics Act, Election Code and other statutes at this time effectively prohibit so-called pay to play practices and require public reporting and disclosure of political contributions to public officials in Pennsylvania;

WHEREAS, both resolutions unfairly and without justification assume that attorneys violate Pennsylvania law;

WHEREAS, adoption of either resolution would have a chilling and deleterious effect on the participation of Pennsylvania lawyers and law firms in the political process;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes adoption of the original proposal by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the proposed amended resolution as described in The Bond Buyer of July 24, 1997;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Governors requests that all delegates to the ABA House of Delegates oppose adoption of either resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: JULY 24, 1997