A Question about the Billy Martin Contract

The contract between the House Ethics Committee and Billy Martin’s law firm, Dorsey & Whitney, provides that “the Chairman of the Committee reserves the right to terminate this contract at any time.”

TPM commented on this provision as follows: “That would all seem quite normal, except of course, part of Martin’s job is to investigate Bonner and other Republicans’ alleged role in the prosecutorial abuse and unprofessional behavior involved in the Waters’ case.” Melanie Sloan of CREW is quoted as saying that this provision “seems surprising given that part of the investigation has to be of Bonner himself.”

I don’t know about that, but I wonder whether it is actually “normal” for the Chairman to be able to terminate a contract with outside counsel. Ethics Committee Rule 6(i) says “Outside counsel may be dismissed prior to the end of a contract between the Committee and such counsel only by a majority vote of the members of the Committee.” Am I missing something, or does the Dorsey & Whitney contract conflict with that rule?



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