(National Sentinel) Swamp drain: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is helping his boss drain the D.C. swamp, one policy at a time, the latest an effort to end a decades-long Justice Department practice of paying off non-governmental groups, many of them far-Left-leaning, with corporate money.
As Breitbart News reports, the Obama administration turned the practice into a slush fund that Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch used to funnel cash to groups like La Raza (literally, “The Race”), and others:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy on Wednesday that prohibits payouts to third parties in settlements reached by the Justice Department.
For decades, through a variety of initiatives, the DOJ has insisted on donations to third parties as part of the settlements it reaches with defendants, especially corporations. In the Obama administration, this practice took on the character of a “slush fund,” which funneled hundreds of millions of dollars from these corporate defendants and put it into the hands of non-government organizations.
Recipients have included left-wing “community organizer” groups such as the National Council of La Raza, or “The Race,” a Latino racial advocacy group that supports mass illegal immigration. Other recipients include the National Urban League, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and NeighborWorks America, which is a congressionally chartered mortgage aid group that itself has come under widespread criticism.
And wouldn’t you just know it? Congress has no control over, or say in, any of these payouts.
Begun in the 1970s with the Community Reinvestment Act, the practice of requiring banks and financial institutions to fund “community organizations” in settlements to offset supposed wrongdoing exploded in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The Obama-era Department of Justice came to massive settlements with big banks over a multitude of alleged unfair lending practices. Part of the Obama DOJ’s remedy was for millions of dollars to be transferred to these often left-wing groups that, among other things, provide mortgage assistance. This policy was the subject of a scathing 2016 report by the independent Government Accountability Institute.
In the Era of Trump, Republicans in Congress have been reenergized to do something about this legalized form of government embezzlement.
Heritage Foundation legal scholar Paul Larkin says that the practice may even be illegal for reasons including that “it allows the Justice Department to pick and choose among organizations that should receive federal funds without any guidance from Congress or any oversight by the Judiciary or Appropriations Committees in either chamber.”
Either way, Sessions’ memo effectively puts an end to the graft.
“Effective immediately,” Sessions wrote, “Department attorneys may not enter into any agreement on behalf of the United States in settlement of federal claims or charges … that directs or provides for a payment or loan to any non-governmental person or entity that is not a party to the dispute.”
The memo calls for changes to the manual used by U.S. attorneys to reflect the policy, which also notes that no changes will be made to specific circumstances that do not apply to the above conditions.
“The Justice Department should be in the business of upholding the rule of law, not misusing its powers to extort monies for favored interest groups,” Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, which his been active in helping expose and end the program, told Breitbart News.
And a little bit more of the swamp has been drained.