‘The DOJ intentionally directed millions of dollars to liberal activist groups. … The fact that this practice ever existed should make Americans’ blood boil.’
‘The Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act would ensure that all settlement funds would go first to the victims, and then to the Treasury.’
‘No administration should be allowed to force donations to politically connected groups at the direct expense of victims.’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today spoke on the Senate floor about his new bill, the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act. The bill would prevent the federal government from directing settlement funds to third party organizations, a practice frequently used during the Obama administration to reward allied organizations.
“One of the many important roles of the Department of Justice is to represent the United States in civil and criminal trials. Sometimes the DOJ decides that a pre-trial, monetary settlement for a lawsuit is the best route to take. The DOJ directs the money from the settlement to the victims or [to the Treasury.] That’s the way our system is supposed to work.”
“But during the Obama administration, the DOJ took a different course. Rather than direct settlement money to victims, the DOJ pushed the defendants to give the money instead to third-party organizations favored by the department. This was a slush fund for groups chosen by the DOJ. And these third parties often had nothing to do with the lawsuit.”
“[W]hen companies like JP Morgan, Bank of America, or Citi Group had to pay settlements based on mortgage lending practices, the DOJ intentionally directed millions of dollars to liberal activist groups.”
“Here’s an email from the Office of the Associate Attorney General in 2013, talking about the DOJ’s settlement with JP Morgan. ‘Can you explain to Tony the best way to allocate some money toward an organization of our choosing? We have been discussing having the agreement provide that JPM agreed to pay $9 billion but that, if, by the time we sign the settlement agreement, JPM has given $60 million to X they will only have to pay $8 billion.’”
“From Bank of America alone, the National Council of La Raza – now known as Unidos U.S. – received $1.5 million dollars. The National Urban League received $1.2 million dollars. VOICE got another $1 million dollars. This won’t shock you, but both La Raza and the Urban League were big supporters of President Obama’s agenda.”
“In total across the federal government, the money directed to third parties added up to a total of $668 million dollars, according to the non-partisan Regulatory Transparency Project. Out of that $668 million, at the end of the day they could only locate $9.5 million – which is 1.4% of the total money given. We don’t even know exactly where, or how, the rest of this money was spent.”
“Folks I’ve got one word for you on this: this is called corruption. This is the swamp. The fact that this practice ever existed should make Americans’ blood boil. Political appointees, at one of the most powerful departments in the country, used their position of power to extract money from companies and then they gave that money to their like-minded friends. That’s what’s wrong with Washington, D.C.”
“We’ve grown used to hearing about this type of behavior from dictatorships around the world, like Russia or Venezuela. We should not – we cannot – accept this type of behavior in the United States of America.”
“Now with a new president in office, and with so many high-profile Obama administration retreads throughout the administration and in the White House, this corrupt practice could, and probably will, return.”
“Congress cannot allow this to happen. I don’t care if it’s a Republican or a Democrat in the White House – the power of the purse lies with us: the folks in this building. We need a permanent fix.”
“Earlier today I introduced the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act. This bill would ensure that all settlement funds would go first to the victims, and then to the Treasury. No third party. Let’s ensure our federal government works on behalf of all of its citizens – not just the ones with connections to people in power.”
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.