Contracts of Mystery

Some things in life, I'll never understand. One of them is why the state attorney general's office here in Oregon can't give an authoritative opinion on a question arising under the state's constitution. Instead, they're hiring outside counsel at $540 an hour. A former state employee, to boot.

When asked about the selection process by state Rep. Kim Wallan, R-Medford, Johnson said the firm employed the state’s former solicitor general, Anna Joyce.

“It is due to her experience in bringing or defending state constitutional challenges that the law firm was selected,” Johnson told lawmakers.

Legislators were not shown a copy of the contract with Markowitz Herbold prior to approving the appointment.

Johnson said the agreement included a not-to-exceed limit of $100,000, though such limits can be amended. Joyce will be paid $540 per hour for her services, with other attorneys at the firm earning upwards of $400 an hour.

The question is what can be done if the federal census data aren't ready in time to redistrict the legislative seats by the July 1 and August 15 deadlines. Apparently, the folks in the Department of Justice aren't up to the task of answering that question.

It's truly mystifying.


  1. "Follow the money". This law firm has been a significant financial contributor to Killer Kate. They have previously been awarded, without competitive bidding, significant work for the State, including litigating with Oracle after the Obamacare website roll-out debacle in Oregon. It's only a "mystery" why they are rewarded with no-bid contracts like this [not that they're not extremely competent], if you are oblivious to the potential quid pro quo.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.