ThinkProgress has obtained a copy of the contract House Republicans signed with Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General who earns $5 million a year, to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. Although Clement’s firm is charging less than the $900 an hour they typically bill for their top attorneys’ work, Clement will still leave the American people with a massive legal bill:
2. The General Counsel agrees to pay Contractor for all contractual services a sum not to exceed $500,000.00. … Furthermore, it is understood and agreed that should the $500,000 cap be reached before the Litigation is complete, and if the cap has not then been raised by written agreement…contractor shall not be obligated to continue providing legal services under this Agreement.
3. The General Counsel agress to pay Contractor at a blended rate of $520.00 per hour for all reasonable attorney time expended in connection with the Litigation, and at 75 percent of the Contractor’s usual and customary rates for all reasonable non-attorney time…and to reimburse Contractor for all reasonable expenses incurred by the Contractor in connection with the Litigation[.]
The House GOP’s decision to stand by this unconstitutional assault on gay families is indefensible, and it is made all the worse by their fiscally reckless decision to hire one of the most expensive lawyers in America. Indeed, it wasn’t even necessary for the Republicans to hire a law firm at all to represent their anti-gay position. The U.S. House’s Office of General Counsel already employs a team of exceptionally competent lawyers who are all perfectly capable of drafting and filing a legal brief, and none of these lawyers earn more than a fraction of Clement’s multi-million dollar salary.
In a few months, the debt ceiling will need to be raised, and House Republicans will whine over and over again about how the United States is spending too much money. If they really care one bit about fiscal responsibility, they should show it by firing Paul Clement.