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Democrat Wants Accountability on Obama Lawsuit

Boehner faces questions over the cost of the House lawsuit against the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:35 p.m. | The ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, Robert A. Brady, is demanding some oversight on Speaker John A. Boehner's lawsuit against President Barack Obama.  

Brady sent a letter to the Ohio Republican saying he expects Republicans to be "open and transparent" about how much money they use "in pursuing this highly dubious and partisan lawsuit."  

The Pennsylvania Democrat, as the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, seems to want some say over who handles the case, and he wants "normal oversight" on the contract.  

Boehner is asking the House this month to approve filing a lawsuit against the president for not enforcing the employer mandate on the 2010 health care law.  

Here is the full text of the Brady letter:

Dear Speaker Boehner: Within the draft resolution to initiate a lawsuit against the President, we learned that you intend to seek authorization to “employ the services of outside counsel and other experts.” Such authority clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the Committee on House Administration, and as such, I am writing to express my expectation that Republicans will be open and transparent about the use of taxpayer money in pursuing this highly dubious and partisan lawsuit. As evidenced by House Republicans’ conduct in the $2.3 million failed effort to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, strong bipartisan oversight is clearly necessary in any plan to hire outside counsel. The Republican majority must not be permitted to use taxpayer dollars as a slush fund to award a no-bid contract to high-priced, politically connected Republican lawyers without any transparency or accountability to the House or the American people. Our opposition to the deeply partisan basis of your lawsuit in no way diminishes the need for normal oversight of the terms of any contract signed by Republican Leadership obligating the House to pay millions of dollars on private attorneys. Therefore, I expect you will honor regular order through my committee, even with this highly irregular lawsuit. The American people deserve to know how and where their tax dollars are being spent, and House Administration Committee Democrats insist on regular consultation and transparency in the selection criteria and process, cost, and lobbying connections of any counsel or experts hired in the name of the House. Sincerely, Robert Brady Ranking Member, House Administration Committee   Correction: An earlier version of this post reported, due to an editing error, that the House would consider the lawsuit this week. The vote is expected later this month.