Monday, October 29, 2007

Great God Almighty Marc Dann, Clean up Your Act

Nonsense like this has got to stop. For an awful lot of us who voted for him, ending corruption wasn't a neat political theme because it fit the temper of the times. It was something we actually wanted to see happen. Not that Dann looked like the perfect candidate, but we hoped that riding a reform wave would wash away some of his sins.

Not really. Now we are all about loopholes and working up to limits and controlling legal authority.

And by the way, why is a state negotiating a contingency fee contract anyway? Contingency fees make sense for individuals who cannot afford hourly fees. If lawsuit is worth pursuing, the state should pay for attorney time and the citizens should enjoy full recovery if the suit is successful. When the contingency fees from the tobacco litigation hit the papers, everyone looked bad. But I don't suppose a guy who failed to learn from pay-to-play scandals can be expected to learn from that.

This is why the bloggers preferred Subodh.


Jill said...

Oy. Thanks for pointing this out, Scott. That even could have been a bumper sticker or blog banner:

Bloggers Prefer Subodh.


Anonymous said...

Thank God this isn't an apportionment board seat in 2011.

Anonymous said...
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Scott Piepho said...

Nice try, Dave.

Anonymous said...

I think you are talking about apples and oranges. While I would agree that in a perfect world, there would be no correlation between contributions and retention, we don't live in such a word. That said, the example you cited is a far cry from the behavior of his predecessors. Most big firms were getting a set amount of hourly work based on how much they contributed. If you want to see the big loosers from the AG race were, look at the Summit County contributors who then had their money legally "contributed" to Betty Montgomery by the SCRP (the number is north of $200,000.00). This procedure allowed certain contributors to bypass the pay to play rules and was much more blatant that what is being reported now.

The types of class actions are extraordinarily expensive. The firms who receive the contingent fees undertake the risk. For this reason, there are a limited number of firms in the U.S. who will undertake them (I can think of only one active firm in Ohio that does so now). Contracting these types of suits out on an hourly basis would be ill advised. Right now the State of Ohio has no risk and only an up side if there is a recovery.

Anonymous said...

I also find it interesting that those who criticize Dann for taking advantage of the loop holes in the law don't ask that the loop holes be closed. They simply do not want Democrats to take advantage of them. The General Assembly is full of Republicans who could change the law by the end of the week. However, they want those same exceptions available in case they recapture the AG's office.

Scott Piepho said...

To Anon1 I say: I'm comparing apples to much smaller and legal apples. It's still soliciting $ from vendors who stand to make serious jack from the state. It may not be illegal, but it stinks.

As far as contingency fee agreement, maybe. We'd have to know what the agreement is to know whether it's a good deal for the state. For example, does the state front expenses or will the firm eat those along with the billable hours if the case tanks? What is the contingency fee? Given the amount of money here, does the firm stand to make something insane like 100 times expenses as happened in some of the tobacco litigation? We don't know and we probably won't since an agreement like this is covered by a public records exception.

What we do know is that Ohio's end was negotiated by a guy who also was looking for contributions to advance his political career.

Anon2 (same guy, I think)

Since I'm criticizing the loophole let me also make clear: I want the loophole closed.

Anonymous said...

I would like the loophole closed as well. I also thought that Nader made some valid points regarding the Democrats in 2000. Then W came along. There are political virgins and political prostitutes. My preference is that the candidates I support remain political virgins. However, even an "experienced" politician is preferable to a political prostitute.