May 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
U.S. House renews contract with Clement to defend DOMA

Paul Clement (photo courtesy King & Spalding)

The U.S. House has renewed its agreement with a private attorney to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court at the same rate and conditions established in a previous contract.

According to a copy of the contract obtained by the Washington Blade and other media outlets, House General Counsel Kerry Kircher, whom U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) directed to defend DOMA in court, executed an agreement with Bancroft LLC to hire Paul Clement to litigate on behalf the anti-gay statute.

Kircher had previously contracted with King & Spalding for assistance with defense of DOMA, but the firm later dropped defense of the statute after an outcry emerged from the LGBT community over its agreement to defend the anti-gay law. In response, Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general under former President George W. Bush, resigned from King & Spalding and became a partner at Bancroft LLC as he pledged to continue his duty in defending DOMA.

As in the previous contract, the contract enables the House to take Clement on retainer for initial sum cap that could reach $500,000 and a blended rate of $520 and hour. Boehner’s office had previously told the Blade the attorney would be hired under the same terms as the contract with King & Spalding.

Similarly, the contract mandates that Bancroft not engage in discrimination for work in this agreement on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other prohibited basis — but notably leaves out sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, a gag order in contract prevents shareholders or employees working as part of the agreement from advocacy on legislation pending before Congress that would alter or amend DOMA.

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said the contract was executed without prior consultation with Democrats on the Committee on House Administration. The committee chair, Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), signed on in consent of the contract.

Additionally, Hammill said Pelosi hasn’t yet received a response yet from Boehner regarding inquiries regarding the cost and transparency of the contract.

“Leader Pelosi has not received any response from her April 18 and April 20 letters to Speaker Boehner pressing for additional details about the transparency, cost and ethics surrounding his decision to hire outside counsel to defend discrimination,” Hammill said.

A Boehner’s spokesperson didn’t respond on short notice to Blade’s request to comment on why Democrats were excluded from contract negotiations or why the speaker has yet to respond to the Democratic leader.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Hmmm, I guess Mr. Clement should have asked his old law firm first before he signed them up to defend an unconstitutional, discriminatory law! Maybe he’s found a better home now, where he can gag the employees and deny them their free speech rights!

  • Had Democrats signed a Multi-Million Dollar Contract on behalf of Congress without consulting Republicans, the Republicans would be crying “Back Room Deals!”.

    No information was shared before, nor after it was requested by the House Minority Leader. Complete disregard.

    This is the Ultimate in Back Room Deals, and in Hypocracy.

  • Do you pervs have any sense of decency at all? The Repubs consulted with the Demos prior to, as the rules prescribe. The only hypocrisy here is from the left and their insatiable demands of special rights for sexual deviants.

    You know you are on the wrong side when your side has to redefine words just to lend an appearance of acceptability to their depravity.

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