Lawsuit seeks to void contracts for lawyers hired by GOP leaders ahead of redistricting | Crime

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The Consovoy contract pays its lawyers $30,000 per month for “pre-litigation consulting” that started on Jan. 1. After litigation has begun, the contract calls for Consovoy to receive $200,000 per month until a trial date is set, and a yet-undetermined prorated flat monthly fee after a trial date is set. Barring the consent of legislative leaders, fees in 2021 cap at $965,000 under the contract.

Work by Bell Giftos would be billed to the Legislature at $375 per hour, with paralegal services billed at $125 per hour.

Matthew DeFour: State needs a more open redistricting process

Lester Pines, the attorney for the group who filed the lawsuit, said the contracts also don’t allow the firms to communicate with anyone in the Legislature but Vos and LeMahieu, shutting out Democrats who are also part of the Legislature.

He said that would allow Republicans to work with the firms to “draft a (redistricting) bill secretly, as they did in 2011.”

A group of Wisconsin Democrats filed suit after the 2011 redistricting, calling it an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander created in secret by a law firm working for Republicans. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately declined to rule, and a three-judge panel later dismissed the case based on a Supreme Court ruling in a similar case.

A state law enacted in 2017, Wednesday’s lawsuit states, granted the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader the authority to hire legal counsel from outside the state Department of Justice, which generally represents state interests in court, but only in actions in which the Assembly or the Senate is a party or in which the interests of the Legislature are affected. 

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