Between the years 1995-2000 a Department of Justice slush fund jumped to over 20 billion annually after setting at about 5 billion for over 30 years. The money was used by DOJ to finance all sorts of questionable operations, especially after the “Patriot Act.” Then came the Obama administration who saw the fund as a way to influence political groups favorable to them without having to worry about congressional over-site.
Another 10 Billion dollars was funneled into the fund using bullying and questionable investigations of corporations to force settlements rather than court decisions. Then the Obama administration disbursed the funds to activist organizations through the DOJ, according to congressional investigators. “It’s clear partisan politics played a role in the illicit actions that were made,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, told reporters. “The DOJ is the last place this should have occurred.”
The findings from the House Judiciary Committee point to a process shrouded in secrecy where monies were distributed to a labyrinth of nonprofit organizations involved with grass-roots activism. “Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton said. “It’s a shakedown. It’s corrupt, pure and simple.”
Now, there is an effort by Republicans to eliminate the practice, which appears was abused during the Obama administration. When businesses were sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they could settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims. The settlements do not specify how these third-party groups could use the windfall. But, investigators have discovered at least $3 billion paid to “non-victim entities.”
Banks are “urged to donate” the funds to non-profits rather than to victimized consumers. “The underlying problem with the slush funds is we don’t know exactly where the money is going,” Ted Franks, director of The Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Class Action Fairness, said. “Using enforcement authority to go after corporate defendants, DOJ bureaucrats are taking billions away from taxpayers to fund their pet projects overriding congressional preferences.” “This is real abuse of power,” adds Franks.
For example, Volkswagen’s settlement, of $1.2 billion was invested into zero emission technology, despite being twice denied by Congress. It is now expected to be four times as much as was requested by Obama. In addition, some of the organizations benefiting from the practice include La Raza and the National Urban League. Some have speculated that such groups as BLM and other “local” left-wing activist groups may have received some of the funds. None of the groups returned calls seeking comment.
A Senate majority staff report, notes the NCRC’s “checkered history” of promoting “illegal immigration and advocating for benefits and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.” The report also found the “DOJ bypassed Congress and “used a portion of the settlements to finance the administration’s housing policy.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said “ Actions settled by the federal government should go back to the federal government, back to the taxpayer.” Goodlatte said in a statement“ Congress must permanently end the abuses, Obama’s Justice Department exploited to use settlements to funnel money to their liberal friends,”.