From Think Progress:
It has come to light that House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA) secretly approved a $500,000 increase to a contract with a private law firm to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. While the increase was approved in September, neither the public nor the Democratic House minority was informed until this week, Roll Call reports.http://thinkprogress.org/...
The contract now authorizes Bancroft PLLC and former Solicitor General Paul Clement (R) to spend up to $2 million in to defend DOMA — the second increase to what was originally a $1 million cap. The U.S. Department of Justice stopped defending the 1996 law in February 2011 after determining the law to be in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded with this statement:
It’s bad enough that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are wasting taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act – and losing in every case. Now, they have reached a new low – signing a secret contract to spend more public money on their legal boondoggle without informing Democrats. Their actions are simply unconscionable; their decisions are utterly irresponsible.When John Boehner was asked about the secret money today he said something to the effect of, "if the DoJ won't defend this law of the land, Congress will."
Hiding this contract from voters in the midst of an election season was a cynical move at best, and a betrayal of the public trust at worst. With Americans focused on the creation of jobs and the growth of our economy, Republicans should not be spending $2 million to defend discrimination in our country.
I am not a lawyer, but this doesn't seem legal. I hope it results in some jail time.
(h/t Dave in Northridge)
It should be noted that Dan Lungren (R-CA) LOST his re-election bid last month! (And there was much rejoicing). Unfortunately, his loss does not effect already allocated moneys.
D.i.N. also found this great wrap-up of Lungren's odious career in the House: