House to vote on Goodlatte bill to stop Obama settlement funds

bob goodlatteHouse Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) bipartisan Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2016 (H.R. 5063) will receive a vote by the full House of Representatives next week. Introduced by Chairman Goodlatte, this bill bars the Department of Justice (DOJ), and all other government agencies, from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of their settlement agreements with the federal government.

Need for this legislation arose after a 20-month House Judiciary Committee investigation found that DOJ had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of systematically subverting Congress’s Spending Power by using settlements from financial institutions to funnel money to left-wing activist groups. This bill would end this practice and restore accountability to the appropriations process.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte released the following statements upon announcement of the vote:

Majority Leader McCarthy:
“There is currently a highly questionable practice where money the Department of Justice collects from lawbreakers is sent to special interest groups instead of being given as restitution to victims of the crime or deposited into the Treasury. This means money that should be used for the public good or to right a wrong instead is channeled without transparency to third parties with special connections within the government. Chairman Goodlatte’s bill—part of our A Better Way agenda — will stop this abusive special-interest slush fund, which is why I’ve scheduled it to be considered on the House floor next week.”

Chairman Goodlatte: “When the DOJ recovers money from parties who have broken the law, those funds should be going to victims or to the Treasury for Congress to decide how the money should best be used. This is a process that ensures accountability and provides for effective oversight of our Executive Branch.

“Congress is working to help hardworking Americans recover from the 2008 financial crisis, only to learn that the DOJ has been taking the sought after funds from major financial institutions, and quietly putting them in the hands of left-wing special interest groups.

“It is time for this practice within the DOJ, as well as all government agencies to be stopped. I am proud to be working with my colleagues in order to ensure the recovered funds are used to benefit direct victims and not special interests, and I look forward to leading the debate on this bill next week.”