Trial Lawyers' Quid Pro Quo

Here comes the payback for the trial lawyers. When I say that taking away the tax hammer from the politicians in Washington, which is exactly what would happen if the FairTax were to become law, there is one other change for the better that the FairTax would do. It would end the manipulation of the tax code to favor special interests, like what Democrats in Washington are trying to do today for their most favored group of lobbyists, trial lawyers.

It’s about senate bill  S.437. Its purpose is to amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow attorneys a tax deduction in the current taxable year for reimbursable expenses and court costs which they pay or incur in connection with contingency fee cases.

It is not a coincidence that tort reform is not mentioned in Washington by Democrats when it comes to reducing costs of health care. Its absence in the health care bills, both real and imagined, is no accident. S.437 demonstrates just how much the administration is in bed with the slip-and-fall lobby.  And look who they get to sponsor it, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA).  Also note that Mel Martinez (R-FL) is one of eight primary sponsors.

Tough economic times are usually no problem for trial lawyers. Pain, suffering and liability abound even in a bad economy. Vioxx, defective products, bad hip replacement joints, video games that “cause” violence, perhaps even foods that “make” people fat — you name it.

Even so, the trial lawyer lobby is looking for a bailout of sorts. In exchange for the billion dollars that the legal profession has contributed to lawmakers since 1990 — the vast majority of it to Democrats — trial lawyers are gunning for a tax break that applies only to them, worth some $1.6 billion.

Their top lobbyist, Linda Lipsen of the American Association for Justice, remarked at a recent conference in San Francisco that the provision would have to be attached to another bill.

“You cannot have a stand-alone bill to help lawyers,” she explained, “so we have to tuck it into something.”{emphasis added}

So watch for the bill that they try to hide it in. It will most likely be a bill, like all others we’ve witnessed since January 20th of this year, that will be touted as an emergency. Another of those that won’t be read and shoved down America’s collective throat.

Everybody gets their payback in Obama’s administration. Especially the  lobbyists he said he would distance himself from when he was a candidate. You simply have to wait your turn. AIG, Freddie and Fannie, Wall Street, the UAW, and now the trial lawyers.

Where is the quid? Well, aside from the billion dollars of donations since 1990, there is this . . .

An Examiner analysis of National Law Journal’s “2008 Plaintiff’s Hot List ” shows that in the first six months of 2009, employees of the top 15 trial firms contributed $636,305 to federal politicians and political action committees.

Only $4,875 of that went to Republicans, meaning that trial lawyers at the nation’s top firms are giving more than 99 percent Democratic this year. Similarly, AAJ’s PAC gave Democrats 96 percent of its $627,000 in contributions in the first half of this year.

Trial lawyers are concentrating on the Senate, with the top 15 firms giving $236,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $54,000 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a former trial lawyer who faces a potentially difficult re-election. Reid collected $978,000 from the legal industry as a whole between January and June.

You may have heard a lawyer joke or two. Like 99% of lawyers give the rest of them a bad name. It’s hard to engender any sympathy for the slip-and-fall, mass tort class of attorneys when . . .

Their political standard-bearer, former Sen. John Edwards, admitted to cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, and is being investigated for his presidential campaign’s $100,000 payment to his mistress.

Last spring, four senior partners of Milberg Weiss, formerly New York’s pre-eminent class action securities firm, were fined and imprisoned for bribing plaintiffs in cases that had netted them $250 million in fees. (The firm since reorganized, and its remaining partners and employees have made $36,537 in political contributions this year, all to Democrats.)

And Dickie Scruggs of Mississippi, a master trial lawyer and architect of the billion-dollar tobacco settlement in 1998, received a seven-year prison sentence earlier this year for bribing a judge.

related link:  Trial lawyers’ gun for their own loophole