House Republicans authorize $500,000 to defend DOMA

April 19, 2011 at 11:19 am 82 comments

by Andy Kelley

As Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reports House Republicans are prepared to pay upwards of $520/hour to defend DOMA:

House Republicans plan to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his legal team from King & Spaulding as much as $500,000 of taxpayer money to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of House of Representatives, according to a document obtained by the Huffington Post.

The General Counsel agrees to pay the Contractor for all contractual services rendered a sum not to exceed $500,000.00,” the Contract for Legal Services obtained by The Huffington Post says. The cap could be raised “by written agreement between the parties with the approval” of the House, the document states.

This news comes on the heels of Sen. Kohl’s announcement he will become the 10th and final vote we need on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, out of committee. Which begs the question, isn’t there a better way to spend $500,000 than on defending a law the Department of Justice has refused to defend and the Senate Judicial Committee is poised to repeal?

The full contract can be viewed below:

View this document on Scribd

Update (Adam): Thanks to Andy  for taking the reins on this while I was offline. A colleague in the legal profession points out this glaring item in the contract:

“That it will not discriminate in its performance of this Agreement because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other prohibited basis, and shall comply with all applicable employment laws.”
Notice the omission of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” I hope that’s the end of their 95% rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

Entry filed under: DOMA trials.

VICTORY: Sen. Kohl agrees to co-sponsor DOMA repeal; votes in hand in Sen. Judiciary Committee Is NOM on the side of Malaysia or tolerance and acceptance?

82 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ed Cortes  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:22 am

    wow – two in the same day!

  • 2. Ann S.  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:22 am


    • 3. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:33 am


    • 4. Rhie  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm


  • 5. Alan E.  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

    2. The General Counsel agrees to pay Contractor for all contractual services a sum not to exceed $500,000.00. … Furthermore, it is understood and agreed that should the $500,000 cap be reached before the Litigation is complete, and if the cap has not then been raised by written agreement…contractor shall not be obligated to continue providing legal services under this Agreement.

    • 6. Alan E.  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:25 am

      check, check, damn box.

      • 7. AnonyGrl  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

        Check I say! One… two… why then tis time to do it!

  • 8. Michelle Evans  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Sure glad those pesky Repubs are out there living up to their supposed promise to America at saving every penny they can! :-(

    • 9. nightshayde  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

      They whine and moan about taxpayer money being spent for legal medical procedures, but have no problem with spending taxpayer money on this.


  • 10. plainmike  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

    And check this out on King & Spalding’s website:

    • 11. eddie  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Wow. I guess money really does talk.

    • 12. Joe  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Maybe that means they’ll do a crappy job defending it on purpose? Either way it’s a crappy bit of news. Either we’re paying a bunch of money to have a law office to support a law that seems to go against it’s organizational culture, or we’re wasting a bunch of money so a law office can fail on purpose.

    • 13. Ed  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:53 am

      aww, i posted that in an earlier thread lol. But in all seriousness….how the hell do these people sleep at night? The poster who noted….money does talk…..was right :(

    • 14. Michelle Evans  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      I would suggest that people on this site go to the law firm’s web site and start using the Contact Us link on their site to let them know how people feel about them taking this case, especially in light of their supposedly pro-LGBT stance.

      I just sent the following email to them:

      I have to say that after reading about the diversity this law firm supposedly practices, and how you are very proud of your 95 rating with the HRC, that I am appalled at the fact that a lawyer in your firm would accept the case of defending discrimination against LGBT people in America.

      The Defense of Marriage Act is a horrendous wrong perpetrated against good and decent Americans. Your firm’s defense of this law is in the same category as a firm which would have accepted a case to defend the Jim Crowe laws against African-Americans.

      I would very much hope that your firm would rethink becoming involved with such a heinous act as to further discriminate against any Americans.

      Thank you for your time and consideration. I sincerely hope your firm will carefully consider this action, and instead show that it is not all about the money, but about equality for everyone in this country.

      • 15. Michelle Evans  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        I also contacted the HRC to ask that they do something with their clout in this regard. Again, strength in numbers, so maybe more of us here can drop notes to both King and Spalding and the HRC.

        • 16. LCH  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

          I think HRC is just starting on their campaign to apply pressure to K&S. My bet is that rather than Clement turning down this case he will cut himself loose from K&S and keep his contract with Repubs.


      • 17. Lee  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        Excellent notion. They just got a “comment” from me, too!

    • 18. Maggie4NoH8  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      I agree – I sent the following to the two people listed on that particular page: Samuel Matchett and Caroline Abney…


      have been following the various challenges DOMA for some time now, and am glad there is a growing consensus that DOMA should be fully repealed by Congress.

      I particularly applaud AG Holder and President Obama for recently announcing the defense of DOMA, at least in a few cases, will no longer be pursued. As a taxpayer, I appreciate that my tax dollars are no longer being spent on this effort. I understand there are differing opinions on the constitutionality of DOMA, and certainly appreciate the particular irony that “smaller, less intrusive government and fiscally conservative” house republicans have stepped up to the plate to ensure a defense of DOMA by hiring King & Spalding (in particular, Paul Clement).

      To be fair, I regularly read the Prop 8 Trial Tracker blogs ( and the National Organization for Marriage blogs ( Both organizations have reported on this development, as have many other news organizations.

      From your website, it is obvious that King & Spalding values the diversity of its employees, and strives to be a leader in corporate responsibility.

      How exactly, as the Diversity Committee Chair and Human Resources Manager, do you “square” King & Spalding’s defense of DOMA with your firm’s obvious pride (and leadership) surrounding LGBT, and other diversity, issues? How can the firm itself square this case with its progressive values?

      Do you anticipate joining the effort to defend DOMA will negatively affect your own LBGT employees? Your standing in the community? Will you amend your web page to also include your active participation in anti-equality cases (in the interest of full disclosure, I suggest here: )?

      Your prompt response is appreciated.

      • 19. Lee  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        Do let us know how they respond!

  • 20. Straight for Equality  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

  • 21. Ann S.  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I’m suddenly very curious whether they pay benefits to any same-sex partners. They have two offices in California. Odds are good that they have employees who are legally married or are registered domestic partners. Hmmm.

    • 22. Maggie4NoH8  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      King & Spalding say they do have domestic partner benefits on their website….

      • 23. Ann S.  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Thanks, I didn’t find that in my brief perusal of their site. Puts them in an interesting position, sorta.

  • 24. Kathleen  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  • 25. Robert Toth  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    What a waste of time! The Grand OLD party should MOVE ON to a more pressing agenda item such as jobs, jobs, jobs..oh, wait “allowing” same-sex couples the same right to PAY for weddings, wedding announcement, wedding diners, honeymoons, book hotel rooms for wedding guests, have a commitment-shower, be TAXED..would only spur…jobs, jobs, jobs!!! THAT makes too much sense. Sad!

    • 26. Joe  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:01 am

      I see them as defending this law to SAVE tax money. If ssm is not recognized by the federal government, then the government collects MORE tax revenue.

      I think its perfectly worth it to spend $500k to keep $500M.

      • 27. fiona64  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

        Obvious troll is obvious …

  • 28. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    If they are using federal funding then I demand a refund….it is as simple as that…. > I …Ronnie

    • 29. Michelle Evans  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Ronnie, They only would give a refund to human beings, and that is the heart of the problem, they don’t think of LGBT people in that way. We are sub-human, if even that. That’s why it’s okay to vote against our rights and keep us oppressed.

      You’ve said it before that maybe it is time for a revolution in this country, and this is one of those times where I would agree.

      • 30. eddie  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

        If not a revolution, then how about a HUGE rally in DC? Imagine if supportive and outspoken celebrities like Dan Savage and Lady Gaga (among others of course) were to organize a weekend festival in DC, with all kinds of live music, speeches, entertainment, etc., focused on LGBT rights. It could be like MLK’s March on Washington times 100. It would be awesome and I think there would literally be millions there.

        • 31. RikerBear  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

          The last civil rights march/rally we attended was in 1993 trying to stop DADT and DOMA……we didn’t get very far back than :-(

          • 32. Mark  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm

            Well, today is a new day, and 2011 is in a new century…

          • 33. Peterplumber  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

            DC in ’93 was AWESOME!!!

          • 34. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm

            DC in 93 was awesome, but the movement didn’t get very far. We however had an amazing time with a few hundred thousand ‘family’ members.
            Will be an experience we will remember forever
            (I got to spit on Fred Phelps hehehehehehe)

  • 35. Sagesse  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm


  • 36. Bill  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Well, at least now we know that discrimination against law-abiding citizens ends up costing Americans a whole lot of money.

    Personally, if I were a heterosexual, I’d rather see that money spent on my child’s education or toward something that would be of some tangible benefit rather than toward the continuation of the ridiculous notion that heterosexuals are superior to all the gay children they created.

    Call me crazy.

    • 37. Ann S.  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      As a heterosexual, I agree.

      • 38. nightshayde  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm


      • 39. CaliGirl  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

        Same here.

  • 40. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    How is he justifing this? Or has he not bothered to say?

  • 41. Don in Texas  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Lady Gaga headlined the National Equality March in Washington on October 9, 2009.

  • 42. nightshayde  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Can they appropriate funds with no approval from either the Senate or the President?

    • 43. Guest  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Exactly…don’t they have to get the approval of the Senate or Obama before they can change the budget?

  • 44. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Watch: NH Tea Party Activists Say Same-Sex Marriage Has Had No Effect on the State

    Igor Volsky from The Wonk Room interviewed some Tea Party activists in New Hampshire about how Marriage Equality has changed (or as they put it…hasn’t changed) the state….one quote:

    “It’s not an issue for me, you know, I think love is love. I don’t care one way or another……We have much bigger problems to worry about then that. If you’re in love with somebody , it’s all good”


    • 45. Straight for Equality  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Ronnie, thanks for the links. I am very happy to see that.

  • 46. Alan E.  |  April 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I just got a response back from Facebook about the NOM picture! Short, but still a response.

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We will investigate this matter. If you need further assistance, please let us know.

    Thanks again,

    User Operations

    • 47. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm


      • 48. Ed  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

        OT maybe…..but overe at NOM.s blog, they are touting a new FB page….one with a diff pic. I hope it was our work :)

        • 49. Kate  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

          Hmmm …. The FB link on their blog only leads to a page not found error! Has their entire FB page been removed?

    • 50. JuliaL  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      NOM picture? What NOM picture? I must have missed that.

      • 51. Dave P  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm

        On their Facebook page they created a logo that ‘intermingled’ the NOM logo and the Facebook logo, which could be seen as implying that the two organizations were somehow associated with each other. It violated Facebook’s Terms of Use agreement and some folks brought it to the attention of Facebook.

  • 52. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Austin, Texas Man Arrested in Murder of Daughter’s Girlfriend and Her Mother

    the Austin Statesman reports:

    Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, has been charged with capital murder and was arrested early this morning in Bexar County by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, said Lt. Gena Curtis. Aviles lives in Austin, but was found in San Antonio, police said.

    Aviles’ daughter had been dating 24-year-old Norma Hurtado for several months, which was the source of feuding between the Aviles and Hurtado families, Curtis said.

    Aviles and another Hispanic man, who has not been identified, went to the Hurtado’s home at the 7100 block of Dixie Drive late Monday and knocked on the door, Curtis said. Moments later, Aviles’ daughter, who was in the home, heard gun shots and found that Hurtado and Hurtado’s mother, 57-year-old Maria Hurtado, had been shot, police said.

    Police have not determined whether the murder will be considered a hate crime.

    (me) hmmmm… : / …..Ronnie

    • 53. Phil L  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      I love Austin, I really do, but we do still have at least a small number of crazy morons. I’ve only lived here for about a year and I can truly see why it’s the city that the rest of Texas would rather disown (it’s too liberal and “weird” for the rest of the state.)

      I hope that this man gets put through the ringer for this.

  • 55. be4marriage  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    $500,000 covers 3 lawyers billing $520 at 40 hours a week for less than 8 weeks. If the lawyers start billing at 60-80 hours a week, it could be less. This $500,000 is a small down-payment on the total expense for defending this hateful law.

  • 56. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Hawaii Trans Protections Almost Here

    The Hawaii house of representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation on Tuesday that would make workplace discrimination against transgender people illegal

    The house passed the protections with a 45-4 vote, reports The Washington Blade. The senate has already passed matching legislation; the bill now heads to Democratic governor Neil Abercrombie, who has vowed to sign it. Hawaii already has protections for transgender people in housing and accommodations. In related news, Nevada’s general assembly passed protections for transgender workers on Monday.

    (me) Awesome Hawaii…..<3…Ronnie

    • 57. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Ditto to Nevada….<3…Ronnie

    • 58. Michelle Evans  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Ronnie, Thanks for the update about Hawaii and Nevada. Good news. Now if trans people, and all LGBTs could only be protected by our federal government.

  • 59. Sagesse  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Majority of those surveyed in CNN poll support same-sex marriage

  • 60. Kathleen  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Sign the open letter “Release the Prop 8 Tapes”

    • 61. JPM  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      New brief in Prop 8 case?

      • 62. Kathleen  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm

        Proponents’ Reply Brief (posted in comments yesterday when it was first released)

        You can always check the document feed on my Scribd account if you’re looking for something:

        • 63. Dave P  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

          Signed it!

  • 64. Gay News, for Dummies | The World v Me  |  April 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    […] House Republicans Paying $500,000 to Defend DOMA […]

  • 65. Mackenzie  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    OT but for those who commented yesterday about NOMs facebook page, it has miraculously been changed. LOL

    • 66. AB  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm

      I noticed that. I wonder why? (No seriously, I wonder if facebook told them they had made a boo-boo.)

  • 67. AB  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:47 am

    You know, I just realized how much stuff we are waiting on! Cooper will certainly respond to the motion to unseal. The court has to decided on whether the media can intervene. Then they have to decide on that. Then they have to decide on the newer Imperial intervention motion. And the California stuff. And that doesn’t even get to the Windsor case or the other one in Connecticut.
    With all of these balls up in the air, you would think that eventually we’d get some sort of major excitement.

  • 68. AB  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:48 am

    And by “California stuff” I mean the CA SC standing stuff.

  • 69. Karen Graham  |  April 20, 2011 at 2:15 am

    This is a waste of my taxpayer dollars and I object. These guys need to go next election if not sooner.

  • 70. Sagesse  |  April 20, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Good article from Keen News Service.

    House hired gun goes to work on DOMA; HRC attacks

    Still can’t believe they actually put this in the contract (probably standard government wording).

    “The contract also calls for the outside law firm to promise not to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other prohibited basis, and shall comply with all applicable employment laws.”

    Just a thought, but one of the things activists have been encouraging Obama to do is sign an executive order expanding the non-discrimination requirements for government contractors to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. How embarrassing would it be to have to amend that contract in mid-assignment.

  • 71. Sagesse  |  April 20, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Witness From GOP’s Marriage Hearing Says Prop 8 Judge’s Homosexuality Invalidates His Ruling

    Read the punch line as Equality Matters responds to this argument.

    Prop 8 Defenders Accidentally Admit Same-Sex Marriage Has No Negative Consequences

    • 72. Sagesse  |  April 20, 2011 at 5:31 am

      No one ever mentions this, but if Judge Walker and his partner had wanted to marry, they could have done so legally in the five month window in 2008.

      • 73. BK  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

        Yes, but would doing so prevent him from ruling on the case?

        • 74. Sagesse  |  April 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

          Nothing prevents him from ruling on the case. Sexual orientation, like race or gender, is not grounds for recusal.

          Just pointing out that when the proponents’ side get all bent out of shape that ‘he could personally benefit’ from overturning Prop 8… If he particularly coveted this ‘personal benefit’, if it was a strong motivation for him, he could have married in California in 2008. Kind of pokes holes in their logic that this particular judge overturned Prop 8 for personal reasons.

  • 75. Glenn I  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Not to exceed $500,000? That Republican law firm will burn through half a mil in months.

    We’ll get ample notice of the next installment of the DOMA defense money when it comes time to appropriate it, right?

    • 76. Jon  |  April 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Of course half a mill is just the first installment.

      And of course the Republic Party will try to hide the full, true cost.

      Expose it.

  • 77. Jon  |  April 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Washington’s spending binge is making it harder to create jobs”

    “We need to liberate our economy from the shackles of out-of-control [government] spending”

    “The spending binge in Washington is holding our country back”

    “Republicans continue to fight for the largest spending cuts possible”

    “When we say we’re serious about cutting spending, we’re damn serious”

    all quotes: John Boehner

  • 78. nightshayde  |  April 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I ask again:

    Can they appropriate funds with no approval from either the Senate or the President?

    • 79. Ann S.  |  April 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      @nightshayde, I don’t know the full answer to this. I’m sure they have some budget for running the House and paying House counsel and other operations. I’m not clear on whether it’s coming out of that or where they think it’s coming from. DOJ isn’t going to fork over any money without a fight, that’s for sure, and I can’t see any bill being passed that would force them to.

    • 80. Mouse  |  April 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      I would hope that there would be checks so that a single crusader could not appropriate $500,000 without SOME kind of approval process. That just seems insane.

  • 81. Steve M  |  April 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    You can leave comments for King and Spaulding at their website: . I have done so, and I encourage others to do so as well. While their website commits to corporate non-discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity, it is interesting that they felt no compunction in simply dropping LGBT protections for a half million dollar anti-gay government contract. That is what I commented on in my message, and it’s a message that should be communicated to students (especially LGBT students) at top law schools around the country.

  • 82. Defense of Marriage for All « Nel's New Day  |  April 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    […] the usual $1000. According to the contract, the cap for the cost approved by House Republicans is $500,000 but can be raised “by written agreement between the parties with the approval” of the […]


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