Congressional Republicans recently penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to end the practice of directing legal settlements to partisan, non-victim organizations.
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) led 14 of his fellow upper chamber GOP colleagues in the letter, which was also signed by 20 congressmen led by U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas).
According to Tuberville’s Senate office, the letter was written in response to the public comment period for the DOJ’s interim final rule published on May 10, 2022.
The department’s rule would return to the DOJ’s practice, which was established during the Obama administration, of allowing settling parties in a federal dispute to reduce their punishment by making contributions to what Tuberville’s office referred to as “special interest groups” of the chief U.S. law enforcement agency’s choosing.
In a statement detailing his opposition to the rule, Tuberville called the practice “corrupt” and “a prime example of executive overreach.”
“The Biden administration is attempting to take a page from the Obama playbook to funnel money to its political allies by requiring federal defendants to pay a portion of their settlement funds to outside activist groups,” outlined Tuberville. “This corrupt practice is a prime example of executive overreach.”
“It is Congress’s job to direct federal funds and federal bureaucrats should not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” added the freshman senator. “Federal settlement funds should go to the victims first and then to the U.S. Treasury. I will continue to push for government accountability and transparency at all levels of the federal government.”
In June 2021, Tuberville introduced the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act, which would have directed federal lawsuit settlement funds to only be sent to victims, injured parties in a dispute or the U.S. Department of the Treasury.