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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Governor’s former top lawyer now being paid more to rep state as private lawyer in sage grouse lawsuit

A new report from the AP on the Idaho Legislature’s legal defense fund details the $275,000 lawmakers have spent on outside counsel in the last three years rather than using Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office, and contains this revelation: Gov. Otter’s former chief counsel, Tom Perry, who left the office over the summer, has been paid $142,464.50 as of November to represent the Legislature and governor in their lawsuit over the sage grouse listing, as a private attorney.

Perry was paid $100,755 a year when he left the governor’s office in April. He worked for the state for 10 years, and previously was with the governor’s Office of Species Conservation. Wasden’s office is not involved in the case, the AP reports.

The Legislature and Otter filed suit after the U.S. Department of Interior decided not to list the sage grouse as endangered – which was the outcome the state wanted – but added new land management rules to which the state objected; that’s the subject of the lawsuit. You can read AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi’s full report here.

(NOTE: This post has been updated to correct the total paid to Perry and his firm; an earlier figure that was slightly higher was incorrect.)

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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