Saturday, October 27, 2012

Matt Denn Dishonest About Volunteer Work

Shell Games Continue: Denn was paid thousands through Skadden Arps, one of world’s largest law firms, to do “free” work On the heels of last week’s revelation that Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn has shortchanged citizens by taking on a second job despite taking office in one of Delaware’s worst economic downturns, new information has emerged regarding claims Denn has made about “charity” legal work. Denn has bragged for years about his work as a young attorney providing “free” law work to people in a church basement legal clinic run by the Delaware Volunteer Legal Services. The story is a prominent part of Denn’s stump speech on the campaign trail. He’s often repeated it this year at candidate forums. But Denn always leaves out an important part of the story. Denn was actually on loan to the “volunteer” program from a multinational law firm. He drew a regular paycheck for doing this “free” “volunteer” work. Denn was paid through the Skadden Arps Fellowship (information available by googling “Matt Denn Skadden Arps”). People participating in the program today receive a salary well above Delaware’s average per capita income, plus benefits. Participants in 1991, when Denn was a fellowship recipient, were similarly compensated. Bragging about “charity work” is bad enough. But making your job look like charity work when you were actually paid thousands of dollars to do it is even worse. “Denn’s shell games like these must stop. Delawareans deserve a Lieutenant Governor who will give them full effort and attention, not someone who moonlights at a second job for personal benefit,” Valenzuela said. “I’m focused on serving the people, not “gaming the system” for personal gain. For instance, i’ve pledged to forgo any state pension I would accrue in office. As Lieutenant Governor, I will focus on building our economy, strengthening our schools and making our streets safer. And I won’t be distracted from it by taking on a second job,” Valenzuela said. Here’s language from denn’s website regarding his legal work ( “Matt returned to delaware and sought out delaware volunteer legal services for his first job, providing free legal advice and representation to people who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Meeting with clients in church basements, he worked on cases involving unfair apartment evictions, workplace discrimination and domestic violence. “he deals with them all thoroughly from a to z and, thank god, it’s all free,” bishop thomas weeks of greater bethel a.m.e church told the news journal when it wrote about Matt’s service to the churches.” Sher Valenzuela for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware

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