American taxpayers picked up the tab on over $825,000 of attorneys’ fees due to a challenge brought by Democrats in an Iowa congressional election. The lawyer feeding frenzy came from the election won last year by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).
To challenge Miller-Meek’s election, House Democrats used a provision they had previously included in House rules to use public funding to retain counsel to represent their party before the Committee on House Administration. Democrats after that paid top-tier law firm Jenner & Block $699,294 after the election was certified by the Iowa secretary of state following an official recount.
Committee Republicans hired the firm of Jones Day to represent them in responding to the election contest. That firm was paid $126,942 for their work.
Even though Miller-Meeks won by a small margin of six votes, her win was not seriously in doubt at any time after the election. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forceful in her decision to challenge the result, even as several Democratic lawmakers urged her to drop the matter. Those party members felt that Pelosi’s decision to fight the Miller-Meeks election worked against their attacks on President Donald Trump’s challenges of the presidential election results.
As the ranking minority member on the committee, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) said that the big legal bill was not the extent of the cost to taxpayers. He said the cost exceeded $1 million when considering staff salaries and other expenses spent on the process. He said that the Iowa election was handled in a “bipartisan, transparent, and timely” manner with the result that was “never in doubt.”
The fund created by House Democrats was reported on in March of this year, although it was unclear how much funding had been channeled through the fund at that time. The stated purpose of the fund is to “resolve contested elections.”
Reporting from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that members of the Jenner & Block firm contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Democratic politicians during the 2020 election cycle.