As reported by Fox News on Wednesday, congressional investigators claim the Obama Administration funneled billions of dollars to left-wing activist groups—such as the National Council of La Raza, National Urban League and National Community Reinvestment Coalition—through a slush fund scheme of the Department of Justice.
“Findings spearheaded by the House Judiciary Committee point to a process shrouded in secrecy whereby monies were distributed to a labyrinth of nonprofit organizations involved with grass-roots activism,” reports Fox.
“Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch told Fox. “It’s a shakedown. It’s corrupt, pure and simple.”
Fitton would also suggest that these “spontaneous” protests sprouting up at town halls and elsewhere are connected to the left’s massive infrastructure, created in part by Obama’s slush fund at the DOJ.
“The protests are as organic as a plastic cup,” he said. “There is a massive left-wing infrastructure in place trying to protect the monstrous government created by the Obama administration.”
Here’s essentially how the “shakedown” works, as outlined by Fox:
When big banks are sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they can settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims. The settlements do not specify how these third-party groups could use the windfall.
So far, investigators have accounted for $3 billion paid to “non-victim entities.”
Critics say banks are incentivized to donate the funds to non-profits rather than giving it to consumers.
As noted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Class Action Fairness Director Ted Frank, DOJ officials are essentially going after corporate defenders to “to fund their pet projects.”
“The underlying problem with the slush funds is we don’t know exactly where the money is going,” said Frank. “Using enforcement authority to go after corporate defendants, DOJ bureaucrats are taking billions away from taxpayers to fund their pet projects overriding congressional preferences.”
Although the DOJ claims it’s perfectly lawful to bypass the Treasury Department since the banks are voluntarily donating, Frank agues that bypass of the department “subverts the legislative branch’s essential spending power.” Not to mention, critics have suggested the “voluntary” donations come attached with incentives and pressure.
“This is real abuse of power,” insisted Frank.
“Congress allotted $47 million for the HUD Housing Counseling, but the Citi and Bank of America settlements shipped in an additional $30 million in funding,” in the FY16 Enacted Congressional Appropriation, outlines Fox as an example. “The Legal Services Corporation was allocated $385 million from Congress but is getting an additional $412 million in taxpayer dollars from the third-party settlement practice.”
Moreover, in a recent Volkswagen settlement, a $1.2 billion investment into zero emission technology requirement “was not only twice denied by Congress but is now expected to receive four times the amount originally requested by the Obama administration.”
Republicans argue this alleged abuse of power should be a bipartisan issue.
“Democrats thought it was an attack on Obama,” said Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, but one of good government. Actions settled by the federal government should go back to the federal government, back to the taxpayer.”
Legislation, called Stop Settlement Slush Fund Act of 2017, has been introduced by Lankford to address the scheme.
“Congress must permanently end the abuses Obama’s Justice Department exploited to use settlements to funnel money to their liberal friends,” said House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican representing Virginia.