HRC Blog

Government Watchdog Files Ethics Complaint Regarding Boehner’s Costly DOMA Defense

HRC Legal Assistant Jessica Singleton contributed to this post.

Today the Human Rights Campaign applauded an organization dedicated to accountability in government, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), for filing an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against Speaker of the House John Boehner for violating the Antideficiency Act. As you know, earlier this spring, Speaker Boehner instructed the House Office of General Counsel to enter into a contract with an outside firm, the terms of which include paying up to for $500,000 for the firm to represent the House in its defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

CREW’s complaint argues that, despite his pledge to cut spending, Speaker Boehner’s authorization of this spending violates the Antideficiency Act, a law intended to prevent government officials from overspending appropriations. The law prohibits federal officials from incurring obligations or making expenditures in excess of amounts available in appropriate funds. Knowing and willful violations of this law may be punishable by up to two years in prison.

House Republican leaders have ignored the priorities of the American people, and perhaps even the law, in spending hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars on defending a discriminatory law that, just yesterday, was ruled to be unconstitutional by yet another federal court.  As CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan put it, “Speaker Boehner has vowed to end deficit spending and usher in a new era of government fiscal austerity, warning Americans we need to make do with less.  But apparently, the House leadership can continue freely spending money it doesn’t have. This is yet another case of do as I say, not as I do.  No wonder the public is so cynical about politics.”

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