Boehner Denies DOMA Contract with Atty Paul Clement Violates Law

House Speaker John Boehner denied on Thursday that a contract with attorney Paul Clement regarding the House defense of the Defense of Marriage Act was executed illegally, the Washington Blade reports:

John_boehner The contract was executed with Clement through his partnership with the law firm Bancroft LLC. Clement had earlier been contracted to defend DOMA in court through his employment at King & Spalding, but the firm dropped the agreement to defend DOMA, citing an inadequate vetting process prior to taking up defense of the statute. Clement resigned from his position at King & Spalding and went to Bancroft, where he pledged to continue litigating on behalf of the law.

But many lawmakers have questioned the source of the funds for hiring Clement because they weren’t appropriated before his contract was executed and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has no budget to allocate funds for this purpose.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) expressed concern in mid-May that Boehner's agreement could be in violation of the Antideficiency Act which prohibits "involving the government in any obligation to pay money before funds have been appropriated for that purpose."

Said Boehner: "This hiring was approved by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. I’m confident that it complies with all of the rules of the House."


  1. Patric says

    Boehner’s statement expresses his confidence that the hiring complied with House rules. It does not address whether the hiring complied with federal law, which strikes me as the more significant question, and, as such, the title for this post is misleading.

  2. Cal says

    Fortunately, the US won’t be able to pay their bills since the Republicans aren’t interested in raising the debt ceiling.

    So this is one law firm that won’t be getting paid.

  3. Charlie says

    This whole thing is a political move by the Republicans to molify their base. As such, I think the Republican Party should pay the bill.

  4. gayalltheway says

    “This hiring was approved by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. I’m confident that it complies with all of the rules of the House.”

    This statement really doesn’t answer the question about the legality of the agreement. Also, he could’ve as well just said that the agreement was approved by the Republicans since it was voted for along party line.

    Or, one could interpret his statement as saying that the Republicans don’t know anything about the Anti-Deficiency Act, which won’t come as a surprise to many.

    Clement’s motive remains a mystery that he was willing to resign from K&S and joined the smaller, relatively unknown Bancroft. Maybe he would do it pro bono.

  5. Little Man says

    This guy Jeffrey Marks doesn’t hit it on the mark. The Anti-Deficiency Act doesn’t tell Congress what to do and how to do it. Read the Act before talking. (Not to mention it is so vague, it has to be “interpreted” by the Dept. of Justice, over and over. Read the history of the Act’s revisions and interpretations.)It is for agencies and employees of the government, not Congress, the boss. You’d like to make believe you are sitting in Congress and whatever you say matters.

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