July 12, 2011

CREW Withdraws Antideficiency Complaint Against Speaker Boehner

By crewstaff

On June 14, 2011, CREW filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking for an investigation into whether Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had violated the Antideficiency Act by directing the House Counsel to enter into a $500,000 contract with an outside law firm to represent the House in litigation regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.  CREW had argued that because the House Counsel’s budget was only $1.4 million, which covers the office’s salaries and expenses, the office did not have enough money to cover the cost of the contract.

Yesterday, CREW learned that a week after CREW filed its complaint, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, asked GAO for an opinion as to whether the contract violated the Act.  On July 6, 2011, GAO issued a decision finding that the contract did not, in fact, violate the Antideficiency Act.

While the July 6th letter from the agency does not address every issue CREW raised and CREW still has concerns about the contract, because GAO is a nonpartisan, independent agency charged with overseeing government spending, CREW accepts the GAO’s findings.  CREW does not believe any purpose is served by insisting on further inquiry into this matter and as a result, is withdrawing its complaint.  We just wish everyone in Washington would yield as quickly when their views don’t carry the day.

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