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The Latest: Indiana congressman defends wife’s work for city

In a Dec. 13, 2012 photo, Luke and Jennifer Messer are photographed in their home in Shelbyville, Ind. Jennifer Messer receives $20,000 each month as a contract lawyer for Fishers, an Indianapolis suburb, most of the work done from the Washington area. Legal experts say that under the arrangement, Messer is paid more than either of Fishers' two staff attorneys and many other government lawyers in the state. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on a lucrative contract the wife of Indiana Rep. Luke Messer holds with the Indiana city of Fishers. (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

Republican Rep. Luke Messer is defending his wife’s lucrative contract with the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Jennifer Messer makes $20,000 a month through a legal services contract with the city, despite working remotely from the Washington area.

The Indiana congressman, who’s considering a Senate run, defended the arrangement in a statement issued late Thursday. He said his wife “is the brains in the Messer outfit.”

He added that it is unfair to criticize a woman who has 16 years of legal expertise and has been “an asset to every firm and client she has served.”

Fishers lead staff attorney has said Messer plays a limited role in the city’s day-to-day operations. Jennifer Messer’s contract states that her work is focused on economic development.

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12:20 p.m.

The wife of an Influential Indiana congressman receives $20,000 each month for work she does as a contract lawyer for an Indianapolis suburb, most of the work done from the Washington area.

Legal experts say that under the arrangement, Jennifer Messer is paid more than either of Fishers’ two staff attorneys and many other government lawyers in the state.

Messer’s husband, Republican Rep. Luke Messer, is planning to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly next year. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, a rising Republican star in Indiana, say the arrangement has helped usher in an era of unprecedented economic success in the growing suburb of about 85,000 people.

Cities in Republican-dominated Indiana have increasingly replaced government workers with contractors in a bid to drive down the headcount of public employees.

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