In the Omnibus Bill, a Treat for the Litigation Industry

by Hans A. von Spakovsky

Only God and Harry Reid know all of the goodies and unpleasant surprises tucked into the 2,000-page omnibus spending bill being crammed through Congress, but there’s at least one gift for community organizers and ambulance-chasing tort lawyers: pages 199–200 of the bill, which contain funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

For years, liberals used the semi-government corporation to pursue lawsuits advancing their political and social causes, until a 1996 reform put a stop to most of the abuses. Lawyers funded by the LSC were prohibited from pursuing class-action lawsuits; engaging in political activities; challenging welfare reform and abortion restrictions; or representing illegal aliens.

However, as the “Explanation” accompanying the spending bill explains at page S9399 of the Congressional Record, Title V of the omnibus lifts the ban on class-action lawsuits and will “permit the use of funds” to file such actions.

We already have serious problems with abusive and frivolous class-action lawsuits that hurt businesses and entrepreneurs. This is the last thing we need — federal funds financing even more of such suits. Just another way for Reid and his cronies to help fund the litigation industry and their biggest contributors (outside of unions) at the expense of our economy.