Boehner thinks we’re ‘broke,’ but he’s willing to splurge

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?