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DOMA Defense Will Cost $500K

DOMA Defense Will Cost $500K

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The attorney hired to defend the Defense of Marriage Act by House Republicans will be paid up to to $520 an hour and as much as $500,000 overall for his services.

Paul Clement, a former solicitor general for President George W. Bush who has argued more than 50 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, signed the contract last Thursday. It was approved by California representative Daniel Lungren, chairman of the Committee on House Administration, the same day. His involvement on the case was announced Monday.

According to the contract, if the $500,000 cap is reached before the proceedings conclude, Clement may step away from his duties as general counsel, without resolving any cases, unless his fee is raised.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, said Tuesday that the price tag for Clement's work was "mind-blowing." Hammill added, "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."

During a House Appropriations hearing March 1, Alabama representative Jo Bonner asked whether the Department of Justice could divert funding for the House's defense. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said there was probably no extra funding appropriated for those lawsuits to begin with.

"The people who would be defending the statute, were we to do that, are career employees of the Department of Justice, who will not be spending their time doing that; they will be spending their time doing other things," he said during the hearing. "I'm not sure that I see any savings as a result of the decision that I announced with the president."

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