The American Association for Justice has hired an outside lobbyist to help to pass a $1.6 billion tax break for trial lawyers. The legislation (H.R. 2519 and S. 437) would allow a tax deduction for contingency fee litigation, thereby subsidizing speculative lawsuits against individuals and business.
We thought the legislation was dead, but as we report at the Manhattan Institute’s Point of Law, the AAJ has just hired the Washington Tax Group to lobby on the issue. You don’t hire new lobbyists unless you hope to pass something.
Last summer the AAJ’s top lobbyist, Linda Lipsen, described the group’s strategy for passing the legislation in a closed-door session with members: “You cannot have a stand alone bill to help lawyers … so we have to tuck it into something.”
You need a tax bill, presumably, to attach it to, perhaps a year-end tax extenders bill. We can also picture a lameduck Congress acting on bills full of political rewards after the November elections.
Other recent posts at Point of Law:
- “Lobbying on admissability of evidence,” covering the AAJ’s lobbying to preserve the ability to sue colleges that move to improve fire safety.
- “Blaming the banks for urban blight, civic rot, other bad things,” wondering whether the Goldman Sachs prosecution might inspire municipalities to renew their litigation against banks for the foreclosure crisis.
- “Getting ready for the Supreme Court debate in the Senate,” noting a coming hearing on Senate filibusters.
- “Chicken suit,” on the University of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic using taxpayer money to help environmental organizations sue the state’s businesses. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. doesn’t need the subsidy, we think.
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