The House Speaker arranged to pay anti-gay lawyer Paul Clement half a million taxpayer dollars to defend DOMA. The only problem: nobody has half a million spare dollars lying around.
That’s got Representatives like California’s Mike Honda feeling annoyed. “If the message from the last election is to cut spending, then why is Speaker Boehner forcing Americans to pay a high-priced private law firm $520 per hour to defend a Constitutionally-flawed and discriminatory law?” Honda asked at today’s House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.
Honda demanded answers from House General Counsel Kerry Kircher at the hearing, since Kircher signed his name on the contract.But the best Kircher could come up with was an explanation from House Republican leadership that funds would not come out of the his own budget.
Even worse, the the Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel, who would ultimately write the checks to Brancroft PLLC on behalf of the House, said that he too had no knowledge of where the money would come from. Whoops!
There ought to be a law that prevents politicians from pledging to spend money without having a funding source in place. And as it turns out, there is: it’s called the Antideficiency Act, and calls for sanctions including administrative discipline and referral to the Justice Department.
Your move, Mr. Boehner!