Thursday, April 26, 2007

Corruption Windfall

The "culture of corruption" is a welcome windfall for a well known DC cottage industry -- lawyers. As politicians lawyer-up -- lawyers are flush with cash.

The Republican National Committee alone ran up a cool half million dollar tab in three months. And that was with just one firm: Covington & Burling. But the RNC won't say what all that lawyering was for.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reports only a $50,466 retainer. Nice contract if you can get it.

The Washington Post checked into what politicians have been paying for lawyers in the first quarter of the year -- thanks to those handy-dandy financial disclosure forms. Some of what they found:
  • $9,949 -- Sen Mel Martinez's (R-FL) paid and unpaid legal bills this year -- he's fighting an $800,000 fine from the FEC
  • $90,000 -- Rep Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) paid and unpaid legal bills carried over from last year
  • $200,000 -- Former Rep Mark Foley (R-FL), legal fees partly from those pesky IMs and e-mails to underage pages
  • $75,000 -- Rep John Conyers (D-MI) -- though his staff isn't sure what they're for
  • $120,000 -- Former Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT) -- he was cozy with Jack Abramoff
  • $13,516 -- Rep John Doolittle (R-CA) who just had his home raided by FBI agents on the Abramoff trial. He's asking the ethics committee to let him fire up a legal defense fund
  • $132,025 -- Former Rep Curt Weldon (R-PA) who's under investigation for plum contracts directed toward his daughter
Looks like a lot of lawyers can move into bigger houses -- trying to keep Congress members out of the "big house." (WaPo)

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