Did Rendell trade a no-bid contract for campaign contributions?

It sounds like it from this editorial:

The civil action against Janssen [a division of Johnson & Johnson] is being prosecuted on behalf of the state by Bailey, Perrin & Bailey, a Houston law firm. And it turns out that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Office of General Counsel was negotiating this potentially lucrative no-bid contingency fee contract with Bailey Perrin at the same time that the firm’s founding partner, F. Kenneth Bailey, was making repeated campaign contributions totaling more than $90,000 to the Democratic Governor’s 2006 re-election bid. . .

Asked about the timing of Mr. Bailey’s political donations, Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo says Bailey Perrin was selected because of “their experience in these kinds of legal matters.” Mr. Ardo says the Governor was aware of the campaign contributions but “had nothing to do with the selection.” Asked why the Governor thought the case should be handled by his office rather than by the state AG, Mr. Ardo says, “the suit involves agencies directly under the Governor’s control, and the General Counsel’s Office believed it could eliminate a lot of unnecessary work by dealing with those agencies directly.” Readers can decide if they buy that one.

Under terms of the contingency-fee contract, Bailey Perrin receives up to 15% of any settlement or judgment. Even better for the lawyers, the state is barred from settling for nonmonetary relief “unless the settlement also provides reasonably for the compensation of [Bailey Perrin] by [Janssen] for the services provided by the law firm under this contract.” . . .

Mr. Rendell’s office insists that “we have nothing to hide in this matter,” but details of the contingency-fee arrangement were obtained by Janssen through a freedom of information request.

(Via Volokh.)

At the exact same time as Perrin’s founding partner is making large campaign contributions (the editorial lays out the timeline), Perrin is hired to prosecute a case that the state would ordinarily prosecute itself, and is promised one-sixth of the settlement.  Better yet, the state promises not to settle for nonmonetary relief.  Good return on a $90k investment.

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