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“It’s Your Money”: Speaker Boehner’s Lawyer Is Charging The American Taxpayer $500 An Hour To Sue Obama

Last January, a Washington attorney named David Rivkin co-authored an article in Politico Magazine that laid out a legal theory that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) now plans to use to sue President Obama because the president is not implementing Obamacare fast enough. Yet, as ThinkProgress laid out shortly after Boehner announced that he would file the lawsuit, Rivkin’s legal theory rests upon “a glaring misrepresentation of a recent Supreme Court decision that undermines much of the basis for this lawsuit.

Nevertheless, Boehner decided to hire Rivkin to represent the GOP-led House in its suit against the president. Rivkin’s price? $500 an hour, all charged to the American taxpayer.

The contract caps Rivkin’s fees at a total of $350,000, although, if past is prologue, this cap will rise quickly. During the litigation challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, Boehner hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend anti-gay discrimination at a fee of $520 per hour. Although an early iteration of Clement’s contract capped his total fees at $500,000, the total cost of Boehner’s legal services rose to $2.3 million. Clement’s legal fees were also charged to the American taxpayer.

However much money Rivkin ultimately collects from the American people, he is unlikely to win his lawsuit if the judges who consider it follow existing law. As a general rule, a plaintiff bringing a lawsuit must have actually been injured in some way by the person they are suing. Neither Boehner nor any other member of Congress, however, has been injured by President Obama’s decision to delay implementation of the provision of the Affordable Care Act at issue in this case. Additionally, in a 1997 case called Raines v. Byrd, the Supreme Court explained that suits brought by members of Congress alleging that their institutional rights as lawmakers have been injured are highly discouraged.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the Roberts Court has shown a willingness to abandon established law when Obamacare is involved, so there is no guarantee that Rivkin will lose.

 

By: Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, August 25, 2014

August 28, 2014 Posted by | House Republicans, John Boehner, Taxpayers | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Boehner Thinks We’re “Broke” But He’s Willing To Splurge

When the Obama administration announced that it no longer considers the Defense of Marriage Act constitutional, and would stop defending the law against court challenges, officials told Congress it could step in and defend DOMA if it wants to. Soon after, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House would gladly to just that.

Yesterday, Boehner’s office announced it has hired former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend the discriminatory law, which seems like a wise choice. Clement is an accomplished attorney with extensive experience who’ll no doubt do a capable job.

But Clement is also a very well paid D.C. attorney, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would like to know what Boehner expects this little culture-war endeavor to cost. For that matter, Pelosi found it curious that the Speaker hired an attorney to represent the House, but hasn’t shared the contract with other congressional leaders.

Today, the picture started coming together.

House Republicans plan to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his legal team from King & Spaulding as much as $500,000 of taxpayer money to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of House of Representatives, according to a document obtained by the Huffington Post.

“The General Counsel agrees to pay the Contractor for all contractual services rendered a sum not to exceed $500,000.00,” the Contract for Legal Services obtained by The Huffington Post says. The cap could be raised “by written agreement between the parties with the approval” of the House, the document states.

The hourly rate that King & Spaulding will be receiving is $520 per hour — which could actually be considered a deal. Some reports say that the firm’s top attorneys receive as much as $900 per hour.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill told Amanda Terkel, “The hypocrisy of this legal boondoggle is mind-blowing. Speaker Boehner is spending half a million dollars of taxpayer money to defend discrimination. If Republicans were really interested in cutting spending, this should be at the top of the list.”

That seems more than fair. After all, Boehner has been running around for months, falsely claiming, “We’re broke.” It’s how he justifies proposed cuts in critical areas like education, medical research, infrastructure, job training, and homeland security, even if it makes the jobs crisis much worse.

But if we’re actually broke, shouldn’t House Republicans want to save $500,000 of our money, and not give it to one high-priced lawyer to defend an anti-gay law?

By: Steve Benen, Washington Monthly, Political Animal, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Bigotry, Budget, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Deficits, Democracy, Democrats, DOJ, Education, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Ideology, Jobs, Justice Department, Politics, President Obama, Republicans, Right Wing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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