Austin Scott (R-GA) – Page 74, Line 13 – Eliminates all funding for the Legal Services Corporation ($350 million), and transfers the savings to the Spending Reduction Account.
LLPH is urging all members to vote YES on the Scott Amendment to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, another wasteful government agency. We may include this vote in our 2014 Congressional Scorecard.
The Heritage Foundation has been writing against this government agency since 1995:
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was established by the Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974 to provide free legal assistance to the indigent in civil, non-criminal matters. Its origins lie in President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, specifically with the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), which in 1965 began making direct grants to local legal aid organizations.2
Despite its name, however, the Corporation does not use its budget (currently $400 million) to provide direct legal services to the poor. Rather, it distributes federal tax dollars to 323 private groups around the country. These grantees also receive another $255 million from lawyer groups, local and state governments, interest on lawyers’ trust accounts (IOLTA), and private sources.3
Unfortunately, taxpayer-funded legal groups, under LSC, engage in political, lobbyist, and cause-advocacy activities, often at the expense of providing real legal services needed by poor people.
Legal Services suffers from an institutionalized ideological bias. Attorneys have promoted racial preferences and illegal immigration, and grantees are sufficiently politicized to become involved in congressional redistricting, litigation, and campaigning on ballot referendum questions. For the past 30 years, the LSC has been the legal pillar of the welfare state. Through litigation, advocacy, and lobbying, it has caused an increase in local, state, and federal welfare spending by hundreds of billions of dollars and has effected the addition of millions of people to the welfare rolls.4 It has sued to stop welfare reform in New Jersey and in other states. It even has engaged in actions — litigating to prevent the eviction of drug dealers from public housing, for example — that harm the poor.
LLPH urges all members to vote YES on the Scott Amendment to end this wasteful agency and we may include this vote in our 2014 Congressional Scorecard.