In the budget cuts announced today by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is slated for a token $75 million reduction. This is a genuine outrage. LSC should have been zeroed out completely.
In a statement today titled “CR Spending Cuts Go Deep,” Rogers says, “Make no mistake, these cuts are not low hanging fruit.” This is nonsense. Defunding the politicized and scandal-ridden LSC should have been easy. If the Republican Congress can’t even cut off LSC, how will it ever make the tough choices necessary to reduce the deficit?
In 2010, LSC received $420 million in federal funds. It supports 136 local groups to provide civil (not criminal) day-to-day legal help to poor people. Unfortunately, many LSC-funded lawyers instead spend their time on Left-wing political and social causes.
When Republicans won control of the House in 1994, they passed a three-year phase out of LSC. The first year’s cut went through. In subsequent years the money was restored on the House floor with the help of a couple dozen Republicans.
Since 1991, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has sought to eliminate taxpayer funding for LSC. NLPC has exposed substantial corruption by LSC grantees, including a 1999 scandal when LSC was grossly inflating the number of cases it claimed to handle.
“Pork King” Rogers must not have the last word on LSC. The House leadership must act to ensure that no more tax money is wasted on LSC.