El Paso Sempra Litigation

The State Bar of California denied it has received a formal ethics complaint against its own executive director Joe Dunn — creator of online publication “Voice of OC.”

The complaint alleged that a request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests.  As such, the failure of Senator Dunn to comply with the law, as well as his utter and complete indifference to the law of the land, mandates that discipline be imposed.

Moreover, and according to the complaint, the fact that Senator Dunn is the Executive Director of the State Bar of California should only serve as a factor for enhanced discipline, as his conduct should be beyond reproach and he should fully comply with all laws and regulations. This is particularly true because those documents were sought as part of an inquiry into circumstances involving a charity known as CaliforniaALL, in the context of events surrounding Voice of OC.

The State Bar of California, which controls and operates the California Bar Foundation, quietly transferred $780,000 to CaliforniaALL, a charitable entity created by former BOG member Ruthe Catolico Ashley. CaliforniaALL never acknowledged receipt of the approximate $780,000 from the Cal Bar Foundation in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns.

Likewise, the Foundation never acknowledged this transfer to CaliforniaALL — the largest grant it ever bestowed — via publications issued by its newsroom, the California Bar Journal, or similar publications; it did, however, recognize the transfer on its IRS returns, and in a 2 by 2 inch blurb in its annual report.

As the purpose of CaliforniaALL was to transfer those funds forward, it did so by awarding approximately $300,000 in grants to the UCI Foundation, where Senator Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee.

In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. That month, Senator Dunn publicly launched his online publication, ” Voice of OC.” Public sources have stated that the Voice of OC was financed by various foundations, unions, and the like.

Events surrounding the State Bar of California, California Bar Foundation, CaliforniaALL, Voice of OC, and UCI Foundation, as well as the fact that those who were involved with CaliforniaALL (i.e. Morrison & Foerster’s Susan Mac Cormac and Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller in his capacity as BOD member of Cal Bar Foundation, as well as BOG members who voted to endorse CaliforniaALL) were also involved with the creation of Voice of OC (Morrison & Foerster’s James Brosnahan and Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi ) created the appearance of suspicious activities that funds were misappropriated by Voice of OC, vis-a-vis CaliforniaALL.

Additionally, the belief is heightened given various events’ proximity in time — as noted above, Ruthe Ashley left CaliforniaALL in the same month Mr. Dunn launched “Voice of OC” (as though her mission had been completed).

Moreover, the recent abrupt departure of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan from ‘Voice of OC” ( as though they were fleeing the scene with guilty consciences), the refusal of SAL-UCI to disclose the amount it receive from CaliforniaALL, the simulated RFP, and CaliforniaALL’s pre-selection of the UCI Foundation as a recipient of funds only reinforce the suspicion. This is heightened by Mr. Thomas Girardi’s lack of credibility (pursuant to findings made by a panel of federal judges), and the friendship Mr. Dunn shares with Mr. Girardi.


Ethics Complaint,  Joe Dunn, Voice of OC,

The above is an image of the complaint which was electronically mailed  to the Intake Office of  the State Bar of California, Ms. Jayne Kim as well as to Mr. Robert Hawley.  Below are images of various prior communications between the complainanat and the State Bar of California confirming a new policy by which ethics complaints may be submiited via electronic mail.  For more about the complaint against Voice of OC and  Joe Dunn, please see Here and Here


Intake Office



Intake Office


TLR is closely monitoring the situation and will keep readers apprised of any new developments.