Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's administration will pay Walker's former attorney general and law partner, Craig Richards, $275 an hour for oil and gas legal work.
The contract was announced by Walker's office Friday afternoon, three days after it was signed by state officials.
Richards, who resigned last month, citing personal reasons, will provide advice on oil and gas development issues for the Department of Law, according to the contract. His compensation is capped at $50,000, with monthly billings capped at $25,000, or about 90 hours of work.
Richards began working for the state July 5, though he has not yet billed the law department for any of his hours, said Cori Mills, a department spokeswoman.
Richards' contract says he will be paid for legal work on AKLNG — the massive proposed gas pipeline that would run from the North Slope to Cook Inlet — as well as on "taxation and credits."
Asked to describe Richards' responsibilities more specifically, Walker's communications director, Grace Jang, in an email wrote simply that Richards would be "providing legal advice relating to oil and gas issues."
"We are fortunate to retain an Alaskan with Craig's talent and legal knowledge to advise us on oil and gas issues," Walker was quoted as saying in a prepared statement. "I'm pleased we are able to continue to draw upon Craig's expertise."
Walker's office said in the statement that the state has paid a separate law firm — which Jang identified as Greenberg Traurig — as much as $859 an hour for similar legal work.
Richards charged $300 an hour when he worked in private practice, before he became attorney general, according to Walker's office.