House Republicans Friday signed a contract with a new attorney to represent them in their lawsuit against President Barack Obama after the lawyer they first hired said he was experiencing political backlash from the colleagues at his firm for taking the case.
The first attorney, David Rivkin Jr., initially took their case in August, just after the lawmakers voted to sue Obama, reports The New York Times. But sources told the paper that members of Baker Hostetler, where he is a partner in the firm's Washington D.C. office, believed the case could scare away potential clients while hurting the firm's credibility.
Baker Hostetler was also ridiculed after Rivkin took the case during a skit on the "The Tonight Show," which showed host Jimmy Fallon playing an ambulance-chasing lawyer urging callers to dial a toll-free number and report possible lawsuits with Obama.
On Friday, the House Administration Committee, which had filed the suit against Obama, signed a contract with William Burck, who co-heads the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan.
Burck was outside counsel representing the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when House Republicans sued Attorney General Eric H. Holder over documents for Operation Fast and Furious. He was also counsel for Maureen McDonnell, wife of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was convicted of nine charges during a corruption trial that ended this month.
The House voted along party lines of 225 to 201 to sue Obama over his delays and changes to the Affordable Care Act, with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, saying the president did not uphold his oath to abide by the laws of the nation.
The lawsuit was a way for Boehner to avoid a push for impeachment proceedings, reports The Times, although there remain many, including one-time vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who is still demanding the president be impeached.
Burck will earn $500 an hour, with payments capped at $350,000, reports The Hill.
Democrats are calling the lawsuit a ploy that's designed to give Republicans a further boost heading into the midterm elections in November.
"We knew that Speaker Boehner's $500-per-hour taxpayer-funded lawsuit was unpopular with the American people," Drew Hammill, spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told The Hill. "Now, we know it's just bad business."
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