Fiscal law requires special legal expertise to deal primarily with the complex field of government contract procurement and acquisitions. Many different industries rely upon government funding for their continued survival and often go through detailed legal procedures to obtain that money. A fiscal lawyer can work either on behalf of these industries or on behalf of the government.
Sections eight and nine of Article I of the United States Constitution give Congress the right to appropriate revenue, which includes funds either borrowed or raised through taxation. The appropriation of funds is regulated by specific measures or controls Congress has put into place to make sure the money is spent as intended. Fiscal lawyers, sometimes called procurement lawyers, are responsible for defending or prosecuting those accused of breaking spending rules.
The basic provisions of fiscal law determine what actions a government agency can take when using federal money. The Department of Defense notes that the money that has been appropriated must be spent for its stated purpose and within the time limits as specified. Finally, an agency cannot obligate itself to spend more than has been allowed by Congress for the specific project in question. Fiscal lawyers will generally be responsible for the prosecution of such violations.
The fiscal law course offered by the University of Louisville's School of Law indicates that in the event of a suspected violation, the agency is responsible for conducting an investigation, which can lead to disciplinary action or criminal sanctions. Fiscal lawyers handle any legal issues involved in these investigations.
Fiscal lawyers can generally expect to make salaries on par with other lawyers. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers working for the federal government earned an average salary of $130,210 per year in 2010. This salary was slightly higher than the average salary earned by all other lawyers nationwide. The BLS reports that the national average salary for all lawyers nationwide was $129,440 per year in 2010.
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