High-profile American ethics lawyer Richard W. Painter is this year’s speaker at the Faculty of Law’s annual Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture on March 25.
Painter is the former chief ethics lawyer for U.S. President George W. Bush. He served White House employees and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the executive branch from 2004 to 2007.
He is currently the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.
A former Republican-turned-Democrat and a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, he is a frequent commentator and contributor to popular American media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox and NPR.
His presentation is titled “Conflicts of Interest, Investigations and Ethics in the Age of Trump.”
Painter is currently a board member of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog organization that uses litigation to hold public officials and politicians accountable for unethical and illegal behavior, and to bring their actions to the public’s attention.
Most recently, CREW sued the U.S. Department of Justice over whether the president has the authority to issue a national emergency to fund the border wall. It has also sued Trump over violating the U.S. Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, by receiving payments from foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses.
The Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture was established in 1991 by then-Premier Peter Lougheed and other friends and colleagues of Merv Leitch, who died in 1990. Leitch was a cabinet minister in the Lougheed government from 1971 to 1982, serving as attorney general, provincial treasurer and minister of Energy and Natural Resources. Prior to that, he was a partner with Calgary law firm Macleod Dixon, now called Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, president of the Calgary Bar Association and a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta.
The Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture is delivered annually at both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
The year’s lecture takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday March 25 in the Law Centre’s McLennan Ross Hall.
View the lecture here.