Several new ethics complaints have been filed with the Oregon State Bar against the law firm representing Ammon Bundy, the leader of the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The complaints were filed by people in New York and North Carolina.
They allege Eugene-based attorney Mike Arnold has asked people on Facebook to file public records requests with the Oregon State Police, the Bureau of Land Management and the FBI to “frivolously burden our Government [SIC] agencies.”
In an interview Tuesday, Arnold said his firm set up a way to crowdsource research on the case and to “maximize the collective wisdom out there.”
“We’re a small firm with limited resources and defending a citizen, Ammon Bundy, against a very large juggernaut of an opponent,” he said. “The resources that the United States government has to build its case against Ammon far exceed those available to our office.”
Arnold said the research help he’s received from Bundy’s supporters has been “extremely beneficial.”
He also said filing a complaint takes nothing more than “a pulse and an Internet connection to do.”
“The process is set up with really no consequences to frivolous complaints,” Arnold said.
One of the people who complained accused Arnold of making comments in April that appear to be “inciting a mass harassment of government officials.”
Arnold’s attorney, Peter Jarvis, wrote to the Oregon State Bar in a letter Monday, stating that the complaints have no merit.
Oregon State Bar spokeswoman Kateri Walsh said this is the latest in a series of complaints the bar has received. Others allege Arnold and other attorneys in his firm solicited Bundy before his arrest and violated pretrial publicity rules.
“All are still in the initial stages of investigation,” Walsh said. “The next big step would be dismissal or the forwarding to the Disciplinary Council Office for a more formal investigation.”