A postscript to Malloy campaign case: Did anyone pay a legal bill?

The Democrats' lawyer, David S. Golub, and Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne arguing about a subpoena contested by the party.

CT-N (file photo)

The Democrats’ lawyer, David S. Golub, and opposing counsel, Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne, arguing the elections case.

State law does not require an accounting, and the Connecticut Democratic Party won’t provide one. But in the process of defending the party against allegations of using illegal campaign contributions to support the governor’s re-election, David S. Golub may have become its biggest benefactor.

There is no record in state or federal campaign finance reports of the party’s paying Golub for his defense against a complaint involving the use of state contractor contributions to support the re-election of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a matter the party resolved a month ago by agreeing to pay a record settlement of $325,000.

Golub, who is no stranger to multi-million-dollar fees, is free under state law to donate his time and skills, as other lawyers have done for political committees in other cases. A seldom-followed law requires political committees, however, to pay a fair-market rate for the resources of a law firm beyond the volunteering lawyer’s time.

If Golub or his Stamford boutique litigation firm of Silver Golub & Teitell were charging the party a fee, then it should have been reported by now under campaign finance rules, which require expenses to be reported as they are incurred. So, that means Golub was a volunteer, right?

“We don’t comment on the relationship with our attorneys,” said Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the party.

Golub, long a contributor to Democratic candidates and causes in Connecticut and elsewhere, said he would defer to the wishes of his client, whether it is paying or not. He had no comment, other than to offer a caution against anyone making any assumptions about the value of his work.

The maximum monetary contribution to a party in any calendar year is $10,000 to each of its two accounts, one for federal election activity and one for state. The value of Golub’s work on a case that stretched over 18 months, requiring detailed briefs and hearings in Superior Court, most likely would have been six figures, say lawyers familiar with the case.

David S. Golub, left, making a point to opposing counsel, Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne.

CT-N

Golub making a point to opposing counsel in the elections case.

Any transparency in such matters is voluntary. Services provided by individuals who volunteer their time to a political committee is not an in-kind contribution and need not be reported, according to a guidebook published by State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The $325,000 settlement ended a fight over the power of the State Elections Enforcement Commission to subpoena emails and other documents related to how the Democrats came to solicit state contractors for contributions to support the re-election of Malloy.

State law bars contractors from contributing to state campaigns or to committees in support of state campaigns, but they are allowed to give to the state parties’ federal accounts, which may be used for get-out-the-vote efforts that benefit state and federal candidates. In the settlement, the party admitted no wrongdoing, but acknowledged the commission’s authority and agreed to keep contractor contributions out of state campaigns.

As one of Connecticut’s most successful litigators, Golub can afford to volunteer his time. He has done well taking on risky and complex cases, working for contingency fees.

The tobacco industry paid $65 million in fees to his firm and three others in Connecticut after they won the state a settlement worth $4 billion in 1999. Golub was the lead attorney, taking on a case that bigger firms rejected.

He also was the lawyer who sued Gov. John G. Rowland in 2003, alleging that the Republican violated the civil rights of unionized state employees with layoffs deemed illegal by a federal appeals court after 10 years of litigation. With the favorable appellate ruling in hand, Golub negotiated a complex settlement last year in which the state will pay at least $100 million over many years.

He has collected about $3.2 million of an estimated $14 million fee that also will paid over time.

In 1994, he won a record award of $22.5 million for a whistleblower who had sued United Technologies five years earlier under the False Claims Act, alleging the defense contractor had defrauded the U.S. government. The award was his client’s 15 percent share of the $150 million in damages recovered by the government.

Golub is a Yale Law School graduate, where his classmates included U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, former U.S. Rep. Bruce Morrison of Connecticut and two presidential candidates, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

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