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State should pay $345,000 for partisan attorneys' redistricting work, judges rule

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 16, 2012 - 4:44 PM

The state should pay $115,000 each to three sets of attorneys who worked on this year's redistricting lawsuits, meaning the state is on the hook for $345,000, judges ruled.

The award of attorneys fees is less than the attorneys had asked for. The three separate groups of attorneys had asked the state to pick up more than $700,000 in costs for the lawsuit that resulted in new political maps.

But the court said awarding $115,000 for each party -- a Republican attorney, DFL party attorneys and an independent Democratic attorney -- was "reasonable."

Every ten years for decades, the governor and the Legislature have failed  to agree on how to redraw political maps to equalize population in congressional and legislative districts after new Census numbers came out. That job has fallen to the courts. It fell to the courts again this year.

As with past years, partisan attorney who have argued their parties interests have asked the state to pick up their costs because their work was needed in the face of the state's failure. Then years ago, a judicial panel said the state should pay about $350,000 of those fees.

The awarding of $115,000 in fees will help the DFL's bottom line. Last month, it reported about $310,000 in debt. Much of that was from unpaid redistricting legal fees. Ken Martin, the DFL party chair, has said they held off cutting those checks until they knew how much would be paid by the state.

The $115,000 for the Republican attorney will not help to alleviate the Republican Party's debt. Although the party owes the attorney, Eric Magnuson, for legal work, Magnuson was not working for the party on redistricting. He was working for an outside group called "Minnesotans for a Fair Redistricting."

The third $115,000 will go to Alan Weinblatt, a Democratic attorney. Although he has in the party done some work for the DFL Party, he was not working with the party on the map-drawing case.

Here's the court decision awarding fees:

 

 

A110152Order - Taxation of Costs-Disbursements Andor Atty Fees

 

 

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