Eric Holder, Covington & Burling (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)
SACRAMENTO—California’s Legislature has extended by four weeks its contract with Covington & Burling for guidance on challenging Trump administration policies.
A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, confirmed on Monday that the $25,000-a-month contract, initially signed in January, will now run through the end of May.
“Covington will be working on several tasks, including an amicus brief in support of Santa Clara County in its lawsuit against the Trump administration’s executive order on sanctuary jurisdictions,” said Kevin Liao.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra on March 22 filed an amicus brief in that case on behalf of the state. Last week, responding to a question about the Legislature’s contract with Covington, Becerra said: “I don’t know if anyone can hold a candle to the men and women who serve with such dedication here in the California Department of Justice. We’re going to continue doing whatever we need to do and we will take whatever help people offer.”
The terms of the contract, including cost and 40-hour-a-month cap on work, remain the same, Liao said. He did not say whether the Legislature is considering any future contract extensions with Covington. The contract identifies the firm as special counsel to the State Senate and State Assembly.
California’s legislative Democrats made a big splash in early January with their announcement that they had retained a team of Covington attorneys, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., to fend off “potential challenges” to state laws and policies.
But the contract quietly lapsed on April 30 with few visible results to show for it.
Holder briefly appeared with legislative leaders in Sacramento on Feb. 7. A photo distributed that day by the governor’s office shows him sitting with Gov. Jerry Brown, Rendon and Senate leader Kevin de Leon, speaking on a conference call with Becerra.
Covington & Burling sent a letter on behalf of the Legislature to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last month, challenging their allegations that the state is hampering enforcement of federal immigration laws.
In addition to Holder, Daniel Shallman, a Covington partner in Los Angeles, and former U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, a Covington senior adviser in Washington, are in charge of the contract with state lawmakers.
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