TALLAHASSEE — Ausley McMullen’s newest attorney Pamela Marsh said unequivocally there is no problem with her contracting with the City of Tallahassee to “consult and advise” on the recent FBI investigation even though Marsh was the former supervisor of the attorney overseeing that federal investigation.
The contract between Ausley McMullen and the City of Tallahassee was signed July 10. Marsh joined the firm as a shareholder that same month.
The Department of Justice has two separate prohibitions on former employees.
The first is a lifetime bar if an attorney has had personal and substantial knowledge of the case. Marsh said this does not apply to her at all.
The second bars an attorney for two years from representing anyone involved in an open case under that attorney’s responsibility during his or her last year of government service.
“The rule prohibits “representing” a client before the US Attorney’s office, a court or a federal agency. I specifically drafted the contract to say that I will only ‘consult and advise’ the city. I have no intentions whatsoever of representing the city before any of those bodies within that two-year period,” said Marsh.
The two-year period ends September 2017, on the anniversary of her resignation from the Northern District of Florida where she served as U.S. attorney from 2010 to 2015. During her tenure, she supervised assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Kunz, who is leading the FBI investigation of the city and the Community Redevelopment Agency.
However, she said, “I did not supervise Mr. Kunz on this particular matter at all. I knew nothing about this particular matter.”
She continued, “While I was US attorney, although this matter may have been opened during the time I was U.S. attorney, I was never briefed on it. I never knew any of the facts of it. I was never informed of anything about it.”
Marsh also said while those rules bar her from “representing” a party, neither of those rules prohibit “consulting and advising.”
“I can consult and advise any client. I simply cannot represent them before any federal agency, the U.S. attorney’s office, the Department of Justice and that applies only in the Northern District of Florida,” she said.
Marsh also said she took the additional step of consulting with the Department of Justice General Counsel on the matter.
“He confirmed that everything I am doing is completely ethical…there is no prohibition on consulting and advising any client,” she said.
Marsh has previous connections with the City of Tallahassee.
During Marsh’s tenure, in 2011, the City of Tallahassee was served with subpoenas from her office with regards to issues relating to Mayor John Marks and federal grants. No charges were ever filed.
Also, before her appointment by President Obama as a U.S. Attorney in 2010, Marsh worked with the Akerman Law Firm from 2006 to 2010. At Akerman, Marsh was a colleague of the founder of the firm, Allan Katz, who was a city commissioner from 2002 to 2009.
According to opensecrets.org, Katz was one of Obama’s key bundlers during the 2008 presidential campaign, pulling together at least $500,000 in contributions.