For Immediate Release
Jordan Libowitz, email@example.com.
CREW Files Ethics Complaint Against Speaker John Boehner for Violating Spending Laws to Defend DOMA
WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for violating the Antideficiency Act. In violation of a law designed to stop government officials from overspending appropriations, Speaker Boehner directed the House Office of General Counsel (OGC) to sign a contract to pay an outside firm $500,000 to defend the highly controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“It is ironic that Speaker Boehner -- a fierce critic of government overspending -- did not hesitate to pledge half a million dollars he does not have to defend a law of dubious constitutionality,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “It seems the speaker believes fiscal responsibility starts at home, but not in the House.”
The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal officials from incurring obligations or making expenditures in excess of amounts available in appropriated funds. Violators are subject to administrative discipline. Knowing and willful violations can be punished by up to two years imprisonment.
In February, Attorney General Eric Holder told Speaker Boehner that because President Obama had determined DOMA is unconstitutional, the Department of Justice would no longer defend the law in 10 pending cases. The speaker then directed the OGC to hire outside counsel to defend the statute. The $500,000 former Solicitor General Paul Clement’s law firm will receive for representing the House is more than 35% of the $1,415,000 Congress appropriated for the OGC, leaving the OGC with insufficient funds to cover both the office’s salaries and expenses and the costs of defending DOMA. Further, money appropriated for purposes other than funding the OGC cannot lawfully be reprogrammed for defending DOMA without legal authorization.
“Speaker Boehner has vowed to end deficit spending and usher in a new era of government fiscal austerity, warning Americans we need to make do with less. But apparently, the House leadership can continue freely spending money it doesn’t have,” said Ms. Sloan. “This is yet another case of do as I say, not as I do. No wonder the public is so cynical about politics.”
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.
Please select a donation method:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.