Budget cuts forced Idaho AG to hire outside help

Lawrence Wasden

Lawrence Wasden

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office spent $6.5 million last year to hire general outside legal counsel because budget cuts since 2009 left it with too few lawyers to handle the cases internally.

Wasden told budget writers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that an outside counsel costs $125 per hour, while the median salary for an attorney in his office is $35.73 per hour.

Wasden’s budget is about $1.5 million less than it was in 2009. For 2013, he’s asking for a 9 percent hike, though Gov. Butch Otter is recommending just a 1.6 percent increase in general funds.

Wasden wants state lawmakers to convene an interim committee, to investigate opportunities to return work to the agency that’s now being farmed out.  (AP)

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