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Uncle Sam, Esq. A Legal Army of 25,060, and Growing?

Take a guess. How many lawyers do you think are employed by the federal government?

According to Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of OpentheBooks.com -- reportedly "the world's largest private repository of public spending -- "the number of federal lawyers now exceed the individual public payrolls of twelve states or the top seven largest private law firms in the USA – combined," he writes in an article last Thursday in Forbes magazine.

He provides the following highlights from the report:

  • 25,060 lawyers on the rank and file federal agency payroll with a job classification of ‘general attorney’ cost taxpayers $3.3 billion last year and $26.2 billion since 2007, plus $130 million in bonuses.
  • The average federal lawyer ‘earned’ $132,817.06 plus bonuses in FY2014.
  • The number of federal lawyers exceeds the total public payroll headcount of twelve states including Alaska (25,050); Delaware (23,249); Idaho (20,270); Maine (18,602); Maryland (16,877); Nevada (24,524); New Hampshire (14,694); North Dakota (15,742); Rhode Island (17,073); South Dakota (12,774); Vermont (13,289); and Wyoming (8,500).
  • If the feds were a private-sector law firm, they would exceed the TOP 7 Largest Private Law Firms – combined (24,411): Baker & McKenzie (4,363); Yingke (4,153); DLA Piper (3,702); Dacheng (3,700); Norton Rose Fulbright (3,461); CMS Legal Service (2,522); and Jones Day (2,510).
  • More than half of the lawyers are located inside the Washington, D.C. beltway.

Andrzejewski says that in a sense, "the lawyers have more firepower" than a Pentagon combat division, adding that  "Mario Puzo cautioned in The Godfather, 'A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.'"

His explanation of the importance of this issue:

"Many times, those lawyers are out to protect the government’s interests, not the public interest.

"Consider the example of North Carolina convenience store owner, Lyndon McLellan.  McLellan was accused of making cash bank deposits less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements. The feds dropped the case but kept McLellan’s life savings of $107,000 for two more years. Prosecutors even had the gall to warn him not to go to the media.

"A couple years ago, Chicago teamed up with the feds to rid itself of the numerous little-entrepreneurial electro-platers on the South and Near West sides. After the regulations, the enforcers moved in and today, there are very few left. In just one case, federal lawyers spent $1 million to shutdown a family owned electro-plater – settling for under $50,000. The business never recovered."

The entire 5-page report from OpenTheBooks.com is available here (.pdf). Instapundit comments on the report here. The Daily Caller reports on the report here.

In addition, to the bullying of defendants who are innocent into settlements because of the cost of litigation. there are also  the voluntary civil settlements with criminal defendants with diverting part of the profits to advocacy interests, not to mention the declinations of some of the worst corruption under the excuse of limited prosecutorial resources.

Take a few minutes to write to a member of Congress. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Thomas (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

And tell them ACTA sent you.

Kudos to OpenTheBooks.com for their work in making public spending more transparent. Retired U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) provided the following testimonial:

"Open the Books is doing the work I envisioned when the Coburn-Obama bill became law.  Their innovative app and other tools are putting sunlight through a magnifying glass."

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