Not only will Wisconsites be paying the price of Gov. Scott Walker’s drastic budget cuts and related policy initiatives, but they are also picking up the tab in the defense of the controversial measures.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, politically connected GOP lawyers have scored big, racking up more than $700,000 in invoices and payments authorized by Gov. Walker and Republican lawmakers to help represent the measures.
None of the legal challenges have run its full course, which means more money to go to pay these bills.
The bills are all part of the process of awarding special counsel contracts. Governors and lawmakers have their own legislative staff attorneys who normally handle all legal matters for a given state. But governors can appoint special counsel to matters if the state’s lawyers at the Department of Justice are unable to handle a case because of a conflict of interest or a lack of expertise or personnel.
In this case the state is defending challenges to Gov. Walker’s union-busting budget, his redistricting plan, and the highly restrictive voter ID law that threatens to disenfranchise thousands of elderly and low-income voters.
This is just the latest example of Gov. Walker farming out the private sector, at twice the cost, for traditional state employee functions and leaving Wisconsin taxpayers footing the difference. The brazenness of Walker’s cronyism would, in a different political climate, be shocking. Sadly these days it is simply business as usual for the GOP.
Photo from marctasman via flickr.