House Speaker John Boehner is a fierce critic of government spending, but that didn’t stop him from improperly spending half a million dollars of money on an outside law firm to defend DOMA — the defense of marriage act. According to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Boehner violated the law by redirecting money from the Office of General Counsel’s budget, leaving the office without enough money to pay their salaries. Boehner could face a fine of $5,000 and up to two years in prison if found guilty.
Boehner’s spokesman claimed that the Department of Justice should be paying to prosecute DOMA cases. But in February, the Obama administration decided that DOMA was unconstitutional, and ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court. At that point, Boehner hired an outside law firm to continue defending at least ten DOMA cases.
Regardless of whether it is legal or not, it seems seriously hypocritical that Republicans like Boehner argue vigorously for smaller government and deficit reduction, and then spend money they don’t have defending a law that is all about intrusive big government.