Opinion

Trial Lawyers Cash In On Biden’s Build Back Better Plan

By Jessica Anderson For RealClearPolitics

While Americans pinch pennies to heat their homes and buy Christmas gifts this year, Democrats in Washington are filling their liberal wish list to the brim with out-of-touch policies and carve-outs for their favorite special interest: rich donors.

Just look at the $2.5 billion trial lawyer giveaway that Nancy Pelosi tucked into the multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better Act, which passed the House last month.

Trial lawyers get rich by taking huge contingency fees from clients who win or settle cases (think 33% or more of the total take). Sure, the lawyers front some expenses like filing fees and document costs, but they more than make it up with their huge fee at the end.

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That apparently isn’t good enough for House Democrats. Lawyers are typically not able to deduct these expenses until the end of a case, and then only if the lawyers don’t get paid back. But House Democrats want to make sure trial lawyers get a tax carve-out on all their costs, immediately, regardless of whether they get paid back from a win or settlement.  

The Joint Committee on Taxation has reportedly estimated this giveaway to be $2.5 billion over a decade. It might seem weird (to a normal person at least) to have Congress shove a $2.5 billion tax break to trial lawyers.

But when you follow the money, things start to make a lot more sense. Trial lawyer money is the sea on which liberal politicians float. John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan, whose billboards and television ads are ubiquitous, was a massive supporter of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, personally sending a $355,000 check to the Biden Victory Fund and then flying Frank Biden to his brother’s inauguration on his private jet.

Joe Rice, the founder of South Carolina-based Motley Rice LLC, who owns at least one 100-foot-plus yacht and built a private golf course, bundled so much money for Joe Biden that he was a rumored pick to be ambassador to the Bahamas. 

And another Motley Rice partner from Rhode Island donated so much money to liberal causes — to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars — that he got a seat on the federal bench with the help of Rhode Island’s own Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The trial lawyer commitment to liberals is detailed in new research from professor Derek Muller of the University of Iowa’s law school, who looked at law firm political donations (including 40 top-ranked trial firms) between 2017-2020 to the chief political committees on the right and left. 

Muller found that the political donations out of all but five of the trial lawyer shops went 90% or more to Democrats, while “nine of these firms had $0 in contributions to major Republican outlets in this four-year period; another six had less than $100.” 

You didn’t misread that last part — at some firms, the donations from employees totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, and not one of those dollars found its way to a major Republican outlet.

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The House Democrats’ trillion-dollar-plus tax-and-spend giveaway is littered with out-of-touch policies that will drive up prices and further bankrupt the country. But the $2.5 billion tax break that Nancy Pelosi and her allies are trying to steer to their rich friends and campaign backers in the trial bar sums up just how rotten the bill is.

No one but the most radical left-wing partisans and Washington insiders could think that this boondoggle is a good idea for the nation. All but one House Democrat voted for the Build Back Better Act, further solidifying the notion that Democrats are not the party of “tax the rich” as they claim, but the party of the rich coastal elites. 

The Senate must reject this bill and stand for the Americans who have been left behind by the Biden administration, not for their friends and donors at Big Law.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

Jessica Anderson is the executive director of Heritage Action, a conservative grassroots organization with two million grassroots activists nationwide.

RealClearWire

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