Monday, February 18, 2019

WI public defenders may get raise; GOP private lawyers rake in far more

Big spending WI Republicans have again identified their favorite beneficiaries.


And their lawyers.

After years of institutional penny-pinching, the GOP-run state legislature may approve a pay raise for private attorneys hired to assist overworked and under-appreciated public defenders.

The raise would lift those private attorneys’ pay from the nation's lowest rate for serving as advocates for indigent clients to $70 per hour from the current $40.

But don't applaud the GOP legislators' 'generosity' too loudly, as they are paying other, select private lawyers seven times as much - - $500 per hour - - for representation against challenges to the Republican lame-duck power grab engineered in Scott Walker's final days in office:
Legislative leaders this week signed contracts with the national law firm Troutman Sanders to represent them in the two lawsuits. The lead attorney, former Wisconsin Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin, will charge $500 an hour. Other lawyers at the firm might charge less, but the contracts do not specify their rates.
This GOP #UsFirst money grab is not an isolated happenstance.

Note that the $500-per-hour rate approved by GOP legislators in an open-ended contract and far exceeds the $275-per-hour rate authorized for other lawyers whose pay is capped at $100,000 total while representing state Democratic officials in the lame-duck litigation

Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg
WI GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 
* And don't forget the 840,000 Wisconsin taxpayer dollars GOP legislators spent on big-time Chicago attorneys for representation against allegations that the WI GOP's 2012 gerrymander violated the Constitution. That case is likely to get a fresh review by the US Supreme Court.

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