A long-standing involvement with an entity which cater exclusively to Asian-American has led to a complaint being filed against California Supreme Court Associate Justice Ming W. Chin.
The ethics complaint -- filed with the California Commission on Judicial Performance -- alleges that Chin's involvement with the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) is prohibitive due to CAUSE's invidious discrimination against those who are non Asian-American.
As such, the complaint alleges, Associate Justice Chin must be disciplined as "Canon 2 (C) of the Judicial Ethics Canon specifically prohibits judges from holding positions in any organization that practice invidious discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and the like."
The complaint further alleges that the associate justice must be disciplined due to CAUSE involvement in the political-process, conduct that Chin is otherwise prohibited in engaging in pursuant to Canon 5, as well as the fact that Chin intentionally hid his involvement with CAUSE.
Ming W. Chin, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. Ming, not a stranger to The Leslie Brodie report, partook in the (Photo:courtesy)
The complaint alleges Justice Chin's clandestine nature and undisclosed involvement is particularly troubling based on facts as they relate to Mr. James Hsu -- CAUSE's treasurer as well as a board member of a (now defunct) sham charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL -- as matters relating to CaliforniaALL would soon be considered by the California Supreme Court.
According to the complaint, several months ago records were sought pertaining to sham charity CaliforniaALL from the California Bar Foundation as well as from the State Bar of California to no avail. As such, and based on the blatant refusal to produce these records, a petition for relief will shortly be filed with the California Supreme Court seeking an order to compel the State Bar and its Foundation to make these public records available.
The complaint further alleges that without the "fortuitous discovery " by the Petitioner, he would not have known that Justice Chin and Hsu are involved with CAUSE as to seek the recusal of Justice Chin in matters relating to CaliforniaALL.
Mr. James Hsu, CAUSE's treasurer as well as a board member of a (now defunct) sham charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL.
Similarly, the complaint alludes to a State Bar of California petition in the matter of Sander vs. State Bar of California which is currently pending before the California Supreme Court. In that case, the State Bar seeks review of a decision that established a common law right of access to data concerning minorities which the State Bar possesses. Hence, the complaint alleges, there is an impression that Justice Chin may exercise his power in such a way which would benefit minorities, much like his involvement with CAUSE conclusively establishes that he stands united with APIA and otherwise wishes self-improvement for APIA more so than he does for the population as a whole.
As a public service to the community, we shall publish the complaint, below:
In lieu of using a form complaint, this communication serves as an official judicial misconduct complaint against California Supreme Court Associate Justice Ming W. Chin.
Secretly, and without making his involvement public, Justice Chin has been and is involved with a questionable outfit in the role of "advisory counsel." The organization at issue is known as the "CENTER FOR ASIAN-AMERICANS UNITED FOR SELF IMPROVEMENT" ( in short "CAUSE"), an entity designed to empower exclusively Asian-Americans in the political arena and otherwise. (See attachment 1.)
CAUSE defines itself as "A Community Based Organization with a Mission to Advance the Political Empowerment of the Asian Pacific Islander American Community ('APIA') Through Voter Registration and Education, Community Outreach and Leadership Development."
In practicality, however, CAUSE also serves as a lobbying group for APIA causes and, in fact, recently petitioned the California Citizens Redistricting Commission seeking modifications to various gerrymandering boundaries for Congressional, Senate, and Assembly Districts. In addition, CAUSE perpetuates job discrimination through its internship program, by which only APIA members are selected for internships in local, state, and federal government.
However, Associate Justice Chin's official biography, as posted on the California Supreme Court's website, makes no mention of the fact that he is a member of CAUSE's Advisory Council. Likewise, nowhere else on the California Supreme Court website is there any reference to the fact that Justice Chin has been advising CAUSE, nor it is possible for the public to ascertain the amount and type of legal (or otherwise) advise Justice Chin has been purveying for CAUSE, and for how long.
As will be shown below, as well as in future complaints, there is more than meets the eye here; however, to start with and only based on the above, the undersigned hereby alleges that Justice Chin violated multiple canons of judicial ethics and otherwise engaged in grave misconduct, to wit:
1. Canon 2 (C) of the Judicial Ethics Canon specifically prohibits judges from holding positions in any organization that practice invidious discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and the like. Justice Ming clearly violated this canon and, as such, must be disciplined.
As a Justice of the California Supreme Court, Justice Ming should strive to empower all Californians and Americans, and not just those who fit into a certain racial group (i.e., his own). By doing so through his involvement with CAUSE -- an entity which caters exclusively to APIA -- Justice Chin has eroded the public's trust in the judiciary. If Justice Chin possesses an overwhelming desire to benefit his own racial group, he should relinquish his position as a California Supreme Court Justice, and join one of undoubtedly many organizations that would surely find his services useful. By aligning himself with a group of Asian-Americans who are "United" for "self improvement," doubts exists as to the impartiality and loyalty of Justice Chin, as well as the appearance of impartiality and whether he is capable of fair and unbiased trial conduct and decisions.
There is absolutely no justifiable reason for CAUSE to not extend its services and programs to non-APIA members, other than its own capricious desire to exclude other races from receiving its benefits. Hence, CAUSE's practices are invidious.
While the undersigned concedes that the APIA community was subjected to animosity in the past (from all levels of government as well as discrimination by private groups and individuals), the present situation does not justify such corrective action. Generally speaking, APIA members are, on average, members of a higher income bracket than the average American, and are otherwise over-represented in professional schools and professions, which is, of course, a positive. However, for Justice Chin to lend the prestige of his office to a group whole sole existence is predicated on its racial discrimination is misconduct on his part. Hence, Justice Chin's involvement with CAUSE and his knowing approval of invidious discrimination on the basis of race gives the appearance of impropriety, and undermines and diminishes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. This is particularly true if the matters before Justice Chin involve an APIA party or a matter which would affect APIA.
For example, a State Bar of California petition in the matter of Sander vs. State Bar of California is currently pending before the California Supreme Court. In that case, the State Bar seeks review of a decision that established a common law right of access to data concerning minorities which the State Bar possesses. Hence, there is an impression that Justice Chin may exercise his power in such a way which would benefit minorities, much like his involvement with CAUSE conclusively establishes that he stands united with APIA and otherwise wishes self-improvement for APIA more so than he does for the population as a whole.
In contrast, if Justice Chin was instead involved with an entity dedicated solely to the preservation of ethnic or cultural values of Chinese-Americans (i.e. a historical society, library, or museum, for example), such involvement would not be at all problematic even though it would also be dedicated exclusively to APIA matters because prohibited discrimination would not be involved, and as such, no invidious discrimination would exist under such facts.
2. One of CAUSE's purposes is to encourage Asian-Americans to register for voting. This creates the impression that Justice Chin is involved in the political process, conduct that he is otherwise prohibited in engaging in pursuant to Canon 5. The involvement of Justice Chin -- an elected official -- with an entity whose purpose is to register APIA members to vote creates the impression that Justice Chin chose to be involved with CAUSE hoping those individuals who were registered to vote cast a vote in the last election in favor of him, especially if they, like him, possess the same overwhelming desire to benefit member of their own race.
In addition, and as stated above, at times CAUSE engages in lobbying and political activities, as was the case when it sent a letter to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission . As such, CAUSE's political activities serve as further evidence that Justice Chin has violated Canon 5 and should be disciplined.
Moreover, Justice Chin should be disciplined for creating the impression that he practices law which, as a sitting judge, he is prohibited from doing. As stated above, Justice Chin is a member of CAUSE's advisory council, and it is reasonable to believe that he provided legal advice to CAUSE in that capacity, even without any direct evidence of such activities.
3. An additional act of misconduct arises from the clandestine nature and undisclosed involvement of Justice Chin with CAUSE, given that such activities are prejudicial to the administration of justice because the lack of disclosure places litigants and parties at a disadvantage. Knowing that his actions are questionable, Justice Chin intentionally,willfully, and recklessly ensured that his involvement with CAUSE does not appear on his profile listed with the California Supreme Court, a clear act of moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption designed to mislead and defraud Californians in general, and parties and litigants who appear before the California Supreme Court. By doing so, Justice Chin violated Canon 1, and otherwise eroded the public's trust in the judiciary; such conduct also begs the question, which organizations is Justice Chin involved with that he has failed to disclose? Justice Chin should be disciplined for not making his involvement with CAUSE known to the public because such information should not be left for interested parties to unearth through their own efforts.
Just in the past few years, there were countless cases before the California Supreme Court in which parties and their attorneys would have benefited from the disclosure, and potentially would have moved to disqualify Justice Chin had they been made aware of his involvement with CAUSE. Also, cases involving some of the entities which make financial contributions to CAUSE (common carriers and utility companies, for example) would have benefited from such a disclosure as, without a doubt, the common carriers and utility companies which donated to CAUSE expect something in return.
4. In addition to the above-described troubling circumstances surrounding Justice Chin's involvement and lack of disclosure with respect to CAUSE, the following problematic factors should also be considered: 1) the enmeshment of APIA entities with the CPUC and utility companies, from which millions of dollars were extracted to benefit APIA causes; and, 2) Justice Chin's relationship with James Hsu, who is CAUSE's treasurer as well as a board member of a (now defunct) sham charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL.
Note that matters relating to the CPUC, utility companies and the enmeshment with APIA entities will be the subject of a separate complaint against Justice Chin and others in connection with an entity known as the "California Consumer Protection Foundation" ("CCPF"), which has been secretly controlled for the last 7-8 years by State Bar Executive Director Emeritus Judy Johnson. CCPF obtained, with the help of Judy Johnson and the State Bar of California, close to $30 million from class action cy pres awards and settlement and fines imposed by the CPUC on utility companies. CCPF forwarded close to $25 million of those funds to minority communities such as "Philipinos for Affirmative Action," "Little Tokyo Service Center," the "Asian Law Caucus" and other questionable ACORN-like entities.
Justice Chin knew of the scheme quietly perpetrated by his confederates Judy Johnson, Stewart Kwoh, Beth Jay, Holly Fujie, Geoffrey Brown, and the State Bar of California (which, not surprisingly, became an extension of the CPUC and individuals with related backgrounds, such as Gwen Moore (present member of State Bar Board of Governors ), Peter Arth (former member of the Access Council of Access and Fairness), Geoffrey Brown (former board member of the Foundation of the State Bar of California), and Joe Dunn (presently executive director of the State Bar with connections to the CPUC via his law partner, Marta Escutia).
As relates to CaliforniaALL, a few years ago Ruthe Catolico Ashley was employed at CalPERS as a diversity officer and also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California. Ashley -- with the direct and indirect help of Buchalter Nemer's Holly Fujie, Girardi & Keese's Howard Miller, and others -- bamboozled the State Bar, CalPERS, the CPUC, and the Department of Insurance into endorsing the proposition known as CaliforniaALL. To further the plan, and along with her friend Ms. Sarah Redfield, Ashley convinced the State Bar of California, CPUC, Department of Insurance, and her employer (CalPERS) to enter into a partnership, the purpose of which would be to create a Section 501(c)(3) charity that Ashley would later lead as CEO and president, and that would absorb contributions from utility companies as well as serve as a vehicle to misappropriate $780,000 from the State Bar of California Foundation (dba California Bar Foundation), an entity which is under the complete control of the State Bar of California Board of Governors.
In addition to the unlawful transfer of $780,000, the State Bar of California Board of Governors, through the productive efforts of Holly Fujie, nominated James Hsu to CaliforniaALL's board of directors, a role in which he served from the day the entity was created to the day it was dissolved.
Even though the transfer of the close to $780,000 from Cal Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL was the largest ever in the Foundation's history, it was never publicly acknowledged by CaliforniaALL in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns. Likewise, California Bar Foundation never acknowledged the largest grant it ever bestowed in 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.
CaliforniaALL collected close to $2 million from utility companies (i.e. Verizon Wireless, Sempra, etc, including the aforementioned sub rosa transfer of $780,000 from the California Bar Foundation, and was dissolved in or about 2010. Based on present calculations, CaliforniaALL only forwarded $300,000 of the donations it received to the UCI Foundation (where Joe Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the audit committee and a trustee), and paid various expenses (i.e., a salary to Ruthe Ashley and other incidental expenses). At least based on the undersigned calculations, and estimated $700,000 - $800,000 remains unaccounted for.
In addition, tax returns and statements made to the IRS show that CaliforniaALL claimed that in 2008 it paid rent in the amount of close to $16,000; in actuality, CaliforniaALL was housed rent-free at the Sacramento office of DLA Piper for an extended period of time.
Circumstantial evidence concerning CaliforniaALL, as well as the involvement of the same people and entities, has caused the undersigned to entertain the suspicion that some of the money misappropriated from the California Bar Foundation ended up financing the launch of an online news magazine established by Joe Dunn known as Voice of OC. [Specifically, for the CalBar Foundation/CaliforniaALL Girardi & Keese's Howard Miller and Morrison & Foerster's Susan Mac Cormac (who legally created CaliforniaALL) were involved; on the side of Voice of OC were Girardi & Keese's Thomas Girardi, Morrison & Foerster's James Brosnahan, and the present Executive Director of the State Bar who launched the Voice of OC in September 2009 -- Joe Dunn.
Several months ago, the undersigned sought records pertaining to CaliforniaALL from the California Bar Foundation as well as from the State Bar of California to no avail. As such, and based on the blatant refusal to produce these records, a petition for relief will shortly be filed with the California Supreme Court seeking an order to compel the State Bar and its Foundation to make these public records available.
James Hsu was a CaliforniaALL board member, as well as a past and present treasurer of CAUSE. These facts give credence to the argument that it was important for Justice Chin to have made his involvement with CAUSE public; simply stated, without the fortuitous discovery of this information, Petitioner would not have known that Justice Chin and Hsu are involved with CAUSE. Hence, discipline must be imposed on Justice Chin for failing to disclose his involvement with CAUSE in general and, more specifically, for his attempt to subvert justice as part of a grander scheme to support the transfer of millions of dollars from utility companies to APIA related causes.
If Justice Chin were serving as a Superior Court judge, the undersigned would have asked to have him admonished or reprimanded. However, as a justice of the California Supreme Court, Justice Chin is held to a higher standard, and even a reprimand will render him morally unqualified to serve in that role. As such, if the Office of Judicial Performance imposes any discipline on Justice Chin -- no matter how slight -- it logically follows that Justice Chin should be removed from his position as Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court because it would be inappropriate for him to continue to serve in that capacity.
Thank you for you time and attention to this matter.