JFAC has voted unanimously, 19-0, to pay the winning side’s legal bills for the Syringa Networks lawsuit over the Idaho Education Network, which the state lost. Those court-ordered fees are $930,593. Also included in the JFAC funding motion, which allocates state general funds to the state Department of Administration, is $39,852 in interest and $1,249 for the state’s costs on appeal, for a total of $971,694. This is separate from the Constitutional Defense Fund appropriation the joint budget committee already approved this morning.
Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, asked, “It’s my impression that these attorney fees are not for our attorneys, it’s for the other guy’s attorneys. ... If that’s the case, don’t we have to pay our attorneys also?” Legislative budget analyst Robyn Lockett said yes. “We’ve also accrued as the state about $1.1 million in attorney fees that have gone to Hawley Troxell.” She said that has been paid through $830,000 from the Department of Administration’s budget and $270,000 from the Idaho Attorney General’s budget, adding up to $1.1 million as of mid-January.
“This will clean this issue up,” said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, JFAC co-chair.