Before: Sentelle, Presiding, Fay and Reavley, Senior
Division for the Purpose of Appointing Independent Counsels Ethics in Government Act of 1978, As Amended
This matter coming to be heard and being heard before the Special Division of the Court upon the application of Dan R. Lasater for reimbursement of attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to section 593(f) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, 28 U.S.C. § 591 et seq. (2000), and it appearing to the court for the reasons set forth more fully in the opinion filed contemporaneously herewith, that the petition is not well taken, it is hereby
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that the petition of Dan R. Lasater for attorneys' fees that he incurred during the Independent Counsel's investigation be denied.
ON APPLICATION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES
Dan R. Lasater petitions this Court under section 593(f) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, 28 U.S.C. §§ 591-599 (2000) ("the Act"), for reimbursement of attorneys' fees in the amount of $863,095.11 that he claims were incurred during and as a result of the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel. Because we conclude that Lasater has not carried his burden of establishing any of the elements of his entitlement, we deny the petition in its entirety.
In 1978 Congress enacted the Independent Counsel Act, which instructed the Attorney General to request an outside prosecutor in cases alleging criminal conduct by high federal government officials. Since the Act included a sunset provision, it had to be reenacted periodically in order to stay in effect. This Congress regularly did until the early 1990's when it let the Act lapse for 18 months.
During the lapse, specifically in early 1994, the Attorney General appointed Robert B. Fiske as a regulatory independent counsel to investigate allegations of questionable business transactions by then-President William Jefferson Clinton while he was Governor of Arkansas in the 1980's. One among these was the allegation that Dan R. Lasater, the fee petitioner here, improperly received state bond business as a result of his relationship with President Clinton and his brother Roger Clinton. In April and June, 1994, Fiske issued eight subpoenas to Lasater and his various companies, calling for the production of documents.
At about this same time, in June of 1994, Congress reauthorized the independent counsel statute. On August 5, 1994, we appointed Kenneth W. Starr as statutory independent counsel to take over Fiske's investigation. All of the documents called for in the subpoenas issued to Lasater, however, were produced to Fiske prior to Starr's appointment. No criminal charges were brought against Lasater concerning the matter.
Pursuant to § 593(f)(1) of the Act, Lasater now petitions the court for reimbursement of the fees he incurred in responding to the subpoenas, in the amount of $863,095.11, consisting of $250,000 in attorneys' fees and $613,095.11 in expenses. As directed by § 593(f)(2) of the Act, we forwarded copies of Lasater's fee petition to the AG and the IC and requested written evaluations of the petition. The court expresses its appreciation to the IC and the AG ...