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Pelosi presses Boehner to reveal taxpayer cost of defending DOMA

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:36 EDT
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WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded in a letter Monday evening that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) unveil how much he’s spending on outside counsel to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Obama administration in February decreed parts of the law unconstitutional and ceased to uphold it.

Pelosi had already written to Boehner on March 11 asking the same question. He responded Monday, over one month later, declaring that the Justice Department should pay the House of Representatives so it can uphold the controversial 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“Unfortunately, your letter did not respond to the central question in my March 11th letter: the cost to taxpayers of hiring outside legal counsel,” Pelosi wrote in her rejoinder Monday evening. “Again, I am requesting that you disclose the cost of hiring outside counsel for the 12 cases where DOMA is being challenged.”

House Republicans revealed Monday that they have hired former Bush-era solicitor general Paul Clement to defend DOMA, a move that drew praise from the National Organization of Marriage and criticism from the Human Rights Campaign. They’ve kept under wraps how much they’re paying him.

Pelosi was upset that Democrats weren’t informed of the decision in advance.

“I would like to know when the contract with Mr. Clement was signed, and why a copy was not provided to Democrats on the Committee,” she wrote in her letter.

Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel pushed back against Pelosi’s letter in an e-mail to Raw Story.

“Since the Department of Justice will not do its job and defend a law passed by Congress and signed by the President, the House must — but it is only fair for us to get the necessary money from the Department’s budget,” Steel said. “The Democratic Leader’s letter does not address that issue.”

 
 
 
 
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