Politics & Government

A $30,000 an hour attorney? Palin report overstates inquiries' costs

There's some double counting and other problems with a spreadsheet outlining $1.9 million in state costs for ethics complaints, public records requests and lawsuits directed at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The administrative director in the governor's office, Linda Perez, conceded that some costs were counted twice and said "the total cost is overstated by $26,849." She said she missed that the Department of Law's updated numbers included costs that were already counted.

"It was my error . . . mea culpa," said Perez, who has worked for governors of both parties since the 1980s.

Perez said she's going to ask the Department of Law about some other puzzling parts of the spreadsheet, including a line item that says 0.3 attorney hours added up to $10,063 in costs.

That would add up to an attorney billing of over $30,000 an hour, and Perez said the flat billing rate the state uses for its attorneys is $121.98 an hour. Perez said she would check and see what costs beyond the staff time went into that calculation of over $10,000 in costs.

There are also discrepancies between two pages provided by the administration detailing attorney hours on ethics complaints. For example, one sheet lists 119.4 attorney hours adding up to $14,564.41 for work on an ethics complaint, but the other page says it was 13.3 attorney hours adding up to almost the same amount, $14,565, for work on that same "Troopergate" related complaint.

Perez said she'll check with the Department of Law on this.

Read more at adn.com

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