State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Cost of voter ID defense an open question

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 4, 2013 9:04 PM

Pennsylvania taxpayers still haven't seen a final tab on how much state money will go to a private firm to defend the voter identification law in court. In fact, a contract was not publicly available until the day after closing arguments were delivered in the case.

Philadelphia firm Drinker, Biddle, and Reath hasn't yet sent an invoice to the state for services rendered in 2013. The hourly rate ranges from $325 to $495. Last year, the firm was paid more than $204,000 for defense of voter ID as judges considered temporarily blocking the law, according to the Department of State's spokesman, Ron Ruman.

The firm's contract with the commonwealth has been missing from a public website for an unknown period of time.

It was finally posted Friday afternoon, the day after closing arguments wrapped up in the Commonwealth Court trial of the law.

"It wasn't there earlier today (Friday)," said Ruman. "I don't know why."

The private lawyers are part of a larger defense team that includes lawyers with the Attorney General's office and the governor's Office of General Counsel. The case won't end with a ruling from the Commonwealth Court judge who just sat through a more than two week long trial. Both sides in the case say an appeal to the state Supreme Court is inevitable.


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