May 7, 2005
A Blast From the Past
For aficionados of "classic rock" stations -- "old people music" according to one of my teenagers who mistakenly thinks I'm old -- it's always nice to hear an old favorite tune and turn up the volume even higher (the Volokh Conspiracy had a fun listing of "Top Ten Songs By Relatively Obscure Artists" here). Well, an oldie came up today while surveying recently published circuit court decisions (see how much fun it is to find material to write a blog entry for a Saturday): In re: Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. For those waiting for me to hum a few bars (please don't!), this one goes by another name: Whitewater -- now you can start playing your air guitar. With Bill Clinton 4+ years removed from the White House and the Starr Report long since faded from memory (the current "Starr" everyone is paying attention to is the one attached to AIG), you'd think this one was completely off the charts. Well, the attorney's fees provision of the since-expired Independent Counsel law keeps cases bouncing around for years.
The D.C. Circuit (maybe Power DCC should be the station ID) issued an opinion (here) reviewing the attorney's fee application of Matthew L. Moore, a self-described junior member of the White House Office of Administration who got caught up in the travel office imbroglio in which seven staffers were fired. Now how's that for another oldie -- "Did Hillary Clinton order the mass firings?" you might recall was the refrain of the day. Moore was caught up in the investigation, which was rolled into the larger Whitewater investigation conducted by Independent Counsel (and now Dean at Pepperdine) Ken Starr, and sought reimbursement of $74,477.04 of attorney's fees and expenses (what is the four cents for?). Alas, the D.C. Circuit rejected that claim. Under the expired statute, a claimant must meet a four-part test: (1) the person is a subject of the investigation, (2) the fees were incurred during the investigation, (3) the fees would not have been incurred but for the requirements of the Act, and (4) the fees are reasonable. Moore did not meet the "but for" test, as laboriously explained by the court. The DC Circuit did award Moore $7,447.70 in fees related to filing a response to the Independent Counsel's final report, a separate basis for recovering fees. At least he got something for getting caught up in the Whitewater maelstrom.
Now, for today's trivia question: Who was the Assistant to the President for Management and Administration who fired the seven travel office employees? The answer is in the D.C. Circuit opinion. Let's get back to the music with a tune from a favorite duo briefly popular in the 1980s, Wang Chung! (ph)
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