Trials & Litigation
Lawyer’s work on Rand Paul’s suit over NSA surveillance goes unrecognized
Posted Feb 13, 2014 9:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The lawyer who drafted most of Rand Paul’s lawsuit against the National Security Agency didn’t get credit—or full payment—for his work, according to the lawyer's ex-wife, who is none too happy about the omission.
Paul’s suit challenging the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records was drafted by Bruce Fein, his ex-wife and spokesperson, Mattie Fein, tells a Washington Post columnist. But when the suit was filed, the lawyer whose name appeared on the complaint was former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
“I am aghast and shocked by Ken Cuccinelli’s behavior and his absolute knowledge that this entire complaint was the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein,” Mattie Fein told the Washington Post.
Fein, a constitutional lawyer with an “obsession with individual rights and due process,” represents NSA leaker Edward Snowden's father on a pro bono basis, according to a Washington Post story published in August.
The Post compared Fein’s draft and the filed suit and concluded that they are the same, except for some cuts and minor word changes.
A Paul adviser told the Post that Fein was paid $15,000 and multiple lawyers worked on the suit.
Cuccinelli emailed Fein to say that “our clients don’t want the lawyers to become the story,” the Post says. Mattie Fein responded in an email that Cuccinelli was “dumb as a box of rocks."
The New York Times calls Cuccinelli the lead lawyer and lists Fein as “among the lawyers on the case.” The Times says Paul “joins an increasingly crowded set of plaintiffs, with several similar cases already pending.”