The U.S. Capitol is shown on the morning of June 11, 2014 in Washington, DC.
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House GOP’s anti-Obama lawsuit gets a price tag

It’s been about a month since House Republicans voted to move forward with an odd lawsuit against President Obama, and yesterday, the election-year stunt got a price tag.
D.C. law firm BakerHostetler will handle the House Republicans’ lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
 
House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., said the firm has been contracted to represent the House in the district court civil suit. According to the contract, the lawsuit will cost the House up to $350,000, billed at a rate of $500/hour.
In a statement, Miller, who signed the contract with the powerful Beltway law firm, said the $350,000 in taxpayer money is a “cap,” which “will not be raised.”
 
What happens if the lawsuit drags on for years and the $350,000 is exhausted? Your guess is as good as mine.
 
It’s worth noting that the choice of BakerHostetler to represent House Republicans – and by extension, us, since we’re paying for this exercise – is probably not an accident. One of the most prominent attorneys touting the anti-Obama lawsuit has been David Rivkin, a veteran of the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations. Rivkin is a partner at BakerHostetler, and the contract stipulates that Rivkin will personally tackle a “substantial portion” of the litigation.
 
One gets the sense GOP officials on Capitol Hill saw Rivkin’s July op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and said, “Hey, we should hire that guy!”
 
Regardless, the larger question is whether this stunt is worth $350,000 of our money.
 
For his part, Norm Ornstein openly mocked the “fiscally conservative” House majority for hiring a $500-per-house attorney “for political showboating.”
 
The point isn’t that $350,000 is somehow extraordinary. It’s not. For you and me, it’s an enormous amount of money, but in the context of federal expenditures, it’s a rounding error.
 
But the expenditure rankles largely because it’s such a shameless partisan stunt. In case anyone’s forgotten, after months of rhetoric about a lawless, out-of-control White House, GOP leaders decided to sue – over a delayed deadline for an obscure Affordable Care Act provision.
 
Making matters slightly worse, when the Bush/Cheney administration delayed comparable deadlines while implementing Medicare Part D, no one cared, and certainly no one thought to literally make a federal case out of it. Worse still, the Republicans are suing to require the Obama administration to immediately implement a policy the GOP lawmakers themselves do not actually want to see implemented.
 
In recent years, GOP leaders have repeatedly said “we’re broke” as a nation, and as such Republicans cannot and will not invest in job creation or any other domestic priority. But miraculously, when GOP officials want to undermine the White House – or launch missiles in the Middle East – they discover some money hiding between the congressional couch cushions (or decide that paying for their priorities just isn’t that important).
 
This $350,000, by the way, is just for this one lawsuit. It does not include the millions of dollars House Republicans intend to spend on a new Benghazi committee or the millions of dollars House Republicans have already spent to investigate an IRS “scandal” that does exist in reality.
 

Barack Obama and House Republicans

House GOP's anti-Obama lawsuit gets a price tag