DISAPPEARING ACT

Will John Boehner Ever Answer Questions About DOMA’s Shady Legal Contract?

We already know about John Boehner’s plan to fund the DOMA defense with magical taxpayer dollars conjured out of thin air. Well, House Democrats aren’t buying his magic trick and want The Boehn Man to release additional details about the House General Counsel’s contract with Bancroft PLLC, the law firm that has agreed to defend DOMA.

According to a letter from the committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady, reprsentatives Zoe Lofgren, and Charles A. Gonzalez:

“During a hearing of the Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee last week, we learned that this contract may violate the fundamental principle of the Anti-Deficiency Act by improperly committing taxpayer funds without appropriate authorization. We were also disturbed to learn that the House General Counsel’s office did not seek guidance from the Committee on Ethics regarding the 25% discount on non-attorney time provided by the contract, which still provides for more than $500 an hour in attorneys fees to be paid by taxpayers. The failure to consult the Committee on Ethics raises questions about how the blended rate was developed. We request you instruct the General Counsel to furnish the Committee a list of the hourly rate paid each employee of the Bancroft firm working on the litigation and an explanation on how the blended rate was calculated.”

This comes after last week’s revelation that King & Spaulding agreed to defend DOMA before its in-house ethics board had even finished looking over the contract.

Seeing as Speaker Boehner has not responded to previous letters from the Democratic Committee Members and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, don’t expect him to explain how he’ll fund the $500,000 contract, the departures from standard House procurement guidelines, or “his failure to seek guidance from the Ethics Committee on questionable provisions of the contract.” After all, who’s gonna question you when you’re the one holding the gavel?