[guest post by JVW]
The Dog Trainer reports this morning that Democrats in the California Legislature have retained the services of one Eric Himpton Holder, Jr., Esq. to provide counsel on how to counter the policies of the new Administration and Congressional majority. Holder and a team of attorneys from the firm Covington & Burling will be in charge of navigating potential conflicts that arise between Sacramento and Washington in areas such as immigration, environmental regulation, and voting rights.
But wait, you might find yourself saying softly to yourself, doesn’t California have an elected Attorney General who manages a $216 million budget with almost 4100 full-time employees? With such resources at its disposal does the state really need to pay big bucks to an outside firm to represent the state’s interests in our national capital? Here is how the Times explains the alleged need:
Such a task typically falls to the state attorney general. On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown formally nominated Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra to replace former Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, who now serves in the U.S. Senate. Becerra, whose nomination hearings in the Legislature begin next week, is expected to be easily confirmed.
But [Senate President Kevin] De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon began contemplating hiring outside legal counsel for the Legislature almost immediately after Trump’s election, in hopes of protecting existing state policies that are at odds with the president-elect’s stated positions.
It’s hard not to conclude that this move is at least in part because Attorney General-designate Becerra has very little experience in actual lawyering, being one of those politicians who puts in a brief appearance with a left-wing legal aid advocacy organization and then later does a quick stint as a deputy attorney general for an incompetent boss, before moving on to a career in the fetid swamp of California Democrat politics. Knowing that Becerra is a show horse and not a work horse, legislative leaders are farming the hard work out to Washington so that the underwhelming attorney general can focus his efforts on grandstanding crusades against oil companies and anti-abortion activists.
Left unreported is how much this outsourcing is going to cost the already overburdened California taxpayer. The Times tells us that, “Aides to legislative leaders declined to specify how much Covington & Burling’s services will cost the state, citing still-unfinished contracts, but said the payment would come out of both chambers’ operating budgets and would not require additional state funds.” I don’t know if that makes me feel better; is it really true that the legislative offices of our broke state have so much excess money lying around that they can retain a powerful DC law firm without having to request additional funds? In any case, it sure is great that California Democrats are going to spread taxpayer money around to wealthy and connected beltway Democrats. One hand washes the other, don’t you know.