Almost exactly one year ago, I apologized for including Spencer Barasch in our list of Best Lawyers. The Andrews Kurth attorney with a troubling employment history had slipped through our vetting process. Well, an alert FrontBurnervian who saw that post from last May sent along a link to a Vice story about Barasch that was published a few days ago. And reading that story, I couldn’t help but wonder how the guy still has a job. From the Vice story:
Two years ago, Spencer C. Barasch, a former high-ranking Securities and Exchange Commission official based in Fort Worth, Texas, paid a $50,000 fine to settle civil charges brought against him by the United States Department of Justice for allegedly violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. The Department of Justice had alleged that Barasch, as a private attorney, had represented R. Allen Stanford, a Houston-based financier who was later found to have masterminded a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Barasch had done so even though he’d played a central role at the SEC for years in overruling colleagues who wanted to investigate Stanford’s massive fraud. Federal law prohibits former SEC officials from representing anyone as a private attorney if they played a substantial or material role in overseeing the individual’s actions while in government. …
A three-month investigation by VICE has uncovered evidence of numerous similar instances of misconduct and potential violations of federal conflict-of-interest regulations and law by Barasch since he left the SEC. And while Barasch’s legal representation of Stanford might have been the single most consequential and egregious example of such misconduct, the new information shows that Barasch’s actions in representing Stanford were hardly an anomaly.
The Vice story was written based on a trove of internal Andrews Kurth emails, suggesting that at least one person at the firm isn’t happy that Barasch works there.