by Daniel Solomon
Last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a legal opinion on the new DC budget autonomy law, adopted last year by 83 percent of voters in a referendum. GAO stated its opinion that the law exceeds the power given to the District under the Home Rule Law.
That’s one party’s opinion. Other respected lawyers disagree. Jon Bouker, a partner at Arent Fox, states:
[blockquote]”…GAO has no authority to declare a law that was duly enacted by the District and subject to the congressional review period null and void.”[/blockquote]
In other words, the GAO’s opinion is in no way binding upon the District. There are only two ways for the law to be nullified: by an Act of Congress, which has not acted to reject the law; or by a judge’s ruling in a lawsuit, and no suit has been filed.
Under these circumstances, DC should be preparing its budget under our newly-adopted rules, not planning to beg Congress to approve it.