Coal giant paying Obama's law professor $75k per month

A former mentor to President Obama is making up to $75,000 a month to represent a major coal company in fighting an Obama regulation.

Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, said he’d earn $75,000 in each of the months from August to December to fight for Peabody Energy Corp. against the Clean Power Plan.


The payments were disclosed Friday in a filing Tribe made in court as part of Peabody’s bankruptcy proceedings. Peabody is the largest private coal company in the world in terms of production.

Peabody paid Tribe $25,000 in May and will pay him $17,500 each in June and July, for a total of at least $435,000 this year, according to the filing, first reported by SNL Financial. As of the filing, Peabody did not owe any money to Tribe, he said.

Obama was a student and research assistant of Tribe’s when the future president was at Harvard Law. Tribe later worked at the Justice Department for Obama in 2010.

Peabody retained Tribe in 2014. Since then, he has advised the company, argued for it in court, filed legal briefs and testified in Congress against the Clean Power Plan.

He told a House subcommittee that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation is akin to “burning the Constitution of the United States” and that the “EPA’s actions serve as a breathtaking example of executive overreach and an assertion of power beyond the agency’s authority.”

In a lawsuit against the rule last year that was found to be premature, Tribe told an appeals court that the rule would “upturn the entire constitutional system” and force states to become “puppets of a federal ventriloquist” that would be “brought into the federal army.”

Tribe is also representing Peabody in its fight against the final version of the rule rolled out last year. Oral arguments are scheduled for September, and Tribe may participate.