BY BTL STAFF
LANSING – The state House Appropriations Committee voted directly on party lines Nov. 5 in favor of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Legislative Transfer Request 2015-8, which will transfer reimbursement funds to Schuette’s office to pay for his failure in the marriage equality case. Schuette’s fight against marriage equality cost state taxpayers $2 million in legal fees.
State Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, served on the committee and offered a motion that would have blocked the transfer of funds, a move that would have forced Schuette’s hand to take the money from his own funds.
“I’m disappointed members of the Appropriations Committee gave their tacit support today for this waste of taxpayer money,” Zemke said in a statement. “There are dozens of more significant and necessary areas to which this money could be applied. We owe it to our constituents to use a funding allotment of this magnitude appropriately. It is not the responsibility of Michiganders to reimburse the Attorney General for this wasted use of funds. It should not be on the backs of Michigan taxpayers that he chose to be on the wrong side of equality.”
The state was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to pay out a total of $1.9 million in legal fees to the near 5,420-plus labor hours the legal team put into the case, billed at $350 per hour. The legal team took on the case pro-bono with none of the initial attorneys expecting the case to climb through the courts to reach SCOTUS.
“Despite calling himself a fiscal conservative, Bill Schuette went to the Legislature to ask for a bailout for his own failure before the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Today’s vote is further proof that Attorney General Bill Schuette expects Michigan taxpayers to foot the bill for his quixotic crusades against the people of Michigan. Rather than stand on the side of equality with Michigan families, Schuette chose the path of discrimination and intolerance and now everyone has to pay for his political gamesmanship.”
Carole Stanyar, who spent a grand total of 2,182 total hours on the case, received a payout of $763,875; Dana Nessel will receive a payout of $407,785 for 1,165 hours; Kenneth Mogill, 1,011 hours for $353,920; Robert Sedlar, 237 hours for $83,160; Mary Bonauto, 796 hours for $278,845; and Vickie Henry, with less than a week, for $11,235.