Walker awards no-bid legal contract to big campaign donor who then bills the state nearly $100,000

First, a big thanks is due to Jake of Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse for bringing this story to my attention.

According to a report by Bill Lueders, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has agreed to pay a private law firm up to $500,000 for legal services regarding his controversial budget repair bill curbing public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Gov. Walker signed the special counsel contract, which authorized payment to the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich at the rate of $300 per hour, a rate characterized as being “unusually high.”

The contract was signed on February 7, 2011, four days before Gov. Walker “dropped the bomb” that was his so-called budget “repair” bill, and the contract seems to have been awarded without any competition. It’s worth noting that Michael Best & Friedrich employees donated $37,000 to Gov. Walker’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010, donations that certainly seem to have paid off, given Gov. Walker’s decision to award that firm a $300 per hour, $500,000 no-bid contract.

To add insult to injury, signing the contract for Michael Best & Friedrich was attorney Raymond Taffora, who just a month earlier quit his job with the state attorney general’s office – and who also happened to be a contributor to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

Correspondence shows the governor on Feb. 4 requested legal assistance from the attorney general’s office in anticipation of litigation on the bill. The office declined, citing a lack of sufficient non-union staff with the necessary expertise. It recommended that the governor appoint special counsel.

According to Gov. Walker’s assistant legal counsel, the total billed to date to taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin by Michael Best & Friedrich is $96,215.

Another interesting fact about the special counsel contracts entered into by Gov. Walker is that while the contracts signed by Gov. Walker provide no explanation as to why the contracts are necessary, a review of the 23 special counsel contracts entered into by former Gov. Jim Doyle during his last two years in office shows special counsel contracts were promptly filed and routinely stated why the Attorney General was not involved.

Apparently Scott Walker believes he doesn’t need to provide any explanations when it comes to how he’s spending taxpayer money, as if taxpayers deserve to know what he’s doing with their money.


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5 thoughts on “Walker awards no-bid legal contract to big campaign donor who then bills the state nearly $100,000

  1. Apparently Scott Walker believes he doesn’t need to provide any explanations

    Silence permeates this regime. It launches stealth attacks, then sits in sneering silence when asked to justify its actions. The lack of debate from the GOP side of the aisle in the legislature is chilling; it’s a display of pure power politics and contempt for the idea that elected officials represent all of their constituents.

    And then there’s the contemptible “silent majority” concept, where the ideal citizen is supposedly one who keeps his nose to his own grindstone and accepts the decisions of the small- and big-‘r’ republican representatives without question. That ain’t what democracy looks like.

  2. Not silence- they are talking and laughing with each other and their patrons. Investigative reporting to find not just the basic facts that should be public record but to find all information that shows knowledge, collusion and subsequent coverups among them all.
    This is (mis)government by conspiracy. Ohio is no different.
    A group like the Solidarity Singers should be initiated to read the state and national Constitutions at noon in the Capitol.

    1. That’s exactly what I mean. The whole concept of “public” is a joke to them.

  3. So here is what the Michael Best LLC group says about itself:

    “…As a broad-based business law firm, we are ideally positioned to handle a wide range of business legal matters across our practice groups. From Intellectual Property, Employment Relations, Litigation and Transactional — covering wealth planning, tax, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and environmental, our legal practice groups are organized to respond to the most pressing issues facing companies today. We serve cutting-edge industries in technology, advanced manufacturing, and energy and we have the years of experience to offer sophisticated counsel to banking and financial services…

    “Why Choose Michael Best?

    Depth of experience
We provide sound legal analysis based on 160 years of experience. Tapping into our associations and alliances around the world, we manage wide-ranging business legal matters for one-person start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies.

Whether working one-on-one with a client or as a team, our attorneys build enduring relationships with our clients.

The 2010-2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, published by Woodward/White, Inc., includes 68 Michael Best attorneys among its rankings of the “best and the brightest” of today’s legal practitioners. Attorneys listed in the book are selected by their peers in the legal community, and constitute only the top one percent of all lawyers practicing in the country. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers consistently ranks many of our practice groups as among the best in Wisconsin and Illinois.

    Real-world strategic business counsel

    We are not just attorneys; we are savvy business people, too. We know the laws of the land and how to apply them in corporate America. When needed, Michael Best assigns special teams comprised of attorneys and other professionals from a cross-section of practice areas, to focus on issues affecting specific industries and business sectors. 

    Progressive approach

    We dig. We research. We look at issues from many angles and find opportunities for our clients. Sometimes we use conventional wisdom. Other times we look beyond the traditional. Because each client is unique, we vary our approach to fit the specific challenge. Many of the industries we serve—renewable energy, biotechnology and life sciences, healthcare, and others—require us to come up with highly original ideas to address their challenges.

    Commitment to serving our clients’ needs
Clients consistently give us high marks for being an invaluable asset. The reason? We devote ourselves to creating relationships based on the bedrock of trust, honesty and a zeal for our clients business. Whatever legal matters our clients face, we work diligently to resolve them.”

    NOTE: helping the process of governance is not mentioned

  4. So, who will prosecute? Who will do more than complain?

    The “love” of money is the root of all evil.

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