Judicial Watch: Records of Corporations Forced to Donate to Leftist Groups

Obama in Paris
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Judicial WatchWashington, DC-(Ammoland.com)- Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records relating to an Obama administration policy of settling agency lawsuits against corporate defendants by requiring that the corporations make “donations” to left-wing interest groups La Raza, the Urban League and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01064)).

Judicial Watch filed the suit after the Justice Department failed to respond to its April 7, 2017, FOIA request seeking:

All records discussing the policy or practice of settling [Department of Justice] lawsuits against corporate defendants by requiring donations to La Raza, the Urban League or the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

The time frame of the request was identified as January 1, 2013 through January 20, 2017.

Judicial Watch submitted its FOIA request in the aftermath of an extensive investigation by the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committee that found the Obama Department of Justice had “engaged in a pattern or practice of systematically subverting Congress’ budget authority by using settlements from financial institutions to funnel money to left-wing activist groups.”

The investigation, announced in February by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), revealed that the Justice Department used the mandatory “donations” to direct nearly a billion dollars to liberal activist groups over the past two years. According to the investigation, “activist groups which stood to gain from mandatory donation provisions were involved in placing those provisions in the settlements.”

Goodlatte also disclosed that in a January 10, 2017, letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the Judiciary Committee requested that the Justice Department preserve official records pertaining to its settlements practices:

Of particular interest are [Department of Justice's] pursuit, since 2013, of civil settlements that provide for or direct payments to non-victim third-parties, [Department of Justice's] policies and practices relating to the settlement and administrative processing of class actions, and more generally, cases in which payment was sought from the Judgment Fund, including [Department of Justice's] efforts to settle with insurers claiming “risk corridor” payments under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In a March 1 report, Fox News outlined how what it termed the “slush fund” worked:

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.

“Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told Fox News. “It’s a shakedown. It’s corrupt, pure and simple.” …

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.

Opponents of the Justice Department program have argued that settlements from corporations rightly belonged to taxpayers and should have gone to the Treasury Department. The Justice Department countered that it could bypass Treasury and dispense the money to select non-profit organizations favored by the Obama administration because the corporations’ “donations” are voluntary.

In its FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch asked the court to order the Justice Department to produce “any and all non-exempt records” in response to the request and a Vaughn index of any records withheld under a claim of exemption.

“It is hard to imagine a more abusive practice by the Obama Justice Department than shaking down corporations in order to funnel billions of dollars that should belong to the taxpayers into the pockets of the former president’s pet liberal causes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We’re pleased that Attorney General Sessions shut down this racket this week but now we need accountability to the American people.”

In 2010, Judicial Watch filled a FOIA lawsuit seeking information about the controversial use of the funds as well as the general policies regarding the selection of “qualified organizations” benefiting from large cash settlements from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s discrimination lawsuits when those organizations were not officially connected to the lawsuits.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on June 7, 2017, “to all Department of Justice components and 94 United States Attorney’s Offices prohibiting them from entering into any agreement on behalf of the United States in settlement of federal claims or charges that directs or provides for a settlement payment to non-governmental, third parties that were not directly harmed by the conduct.”

About Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.

For more information, visit: www.JudicialWatch.org.

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Alan
Alan
3 years ago

Seems to me that re the above stated/described antics, criminal prosecution of those involved, government personnel, are all to appropriate. By the way, the lack of such cation, there haven’t been any such prosecutions have there, sets a terrible example.

Colonialgirl
Colonialgirl
3 years ago

The Obama administration HAS to be one of the most corrupt in the history of the USA. It is CERTAINLY one of the most Anti-American, Anti-Constitutional ones we have ever had.

Don
Don
3 years ago

The fake MSM is responsible for none of Obummers crimes get out to the public. Can you say pick and choose the winners and losers?

Don
Don
3 years ago

Obama is a sellout for all Americans, he did things we will never hear about. How we survived 8 years of him I have no idea but we really don’t know if we have survived it yet. Trump is trying to save this country but because of what Barry Soetoro has done the damage runs so deep we don’t know how we will end up. What is the punishment for High Treason?

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 years ago
Reply to  Don

, many investigations that should have gone straight to the White House, were quashed by Holder and Lynch, in their terms as AGUS. Trump needs the same kind of AG that will stop the attempts on his administration. Trump should get busy firing Soetoro hold overs and other deep state bureaucrats. Then refill the positions with people that he can trust.

Jim
Jim
3 years ago

Think “Cash for Clunkers” was under President George “$5 a Gallon Gasoline” Bush tenure.
I would respond of all the sinister and devious things Obama did, but Ammoland probably will sensor my resonse and by the time they post it the article will be taken down and archived (my detailed Saturday 10AM response was posted two days later Monday morning).

Colonialgirl
Colonialgirl
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Female dog, female dog, female dog;
This is about the 6th time you claimed that censorship is going on,; Is it POSSIBLE that what you are writing is such leftist nonsense that it DESERVES censorship?

Greg
Greg
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim

You may want to check your facts. In 2009, Mr. Obama proudly declared that his Cash for Clunkers program, officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), was a stunning success. But as Yahoo News notes, the program’s decision to shred, not recycle, many of the trade-in vehicles unleashed an “environmental nightmare”:
$5.00 a gal, in reality was only $4.00 a gal in some places and was the actions of speculators not Bush.
You clearly have some issues with reality and facts. Try to stop posting and let the adults speak.

VT Patriot
VT Patriot
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim

First @jh45gun, your responses are moronic. Thats probably why it takes days to post them. The owners of the site are probably sitting on the floor laughing. Cash for clunkers was instituted by obutthead to ‘stimulate’ the new car business. As with everything else he did, nothing was stimulated but your opportunity to pay for part of some idiot’s new car that was repo’d a few moths later. Also, it removed used cars from the market that still had years of use left in them cutting off the less affluent people that couldn’t afford new cars. Like eveything he did… Read more »

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 years ago

K, My sympathies, sir. I have some idiot relatives, too. When I retired, I did not even consider retiring anywhere near where my relatives live.

Tony K
Tony K
3 years ago

…and I have idiot relatives that are convinced Obama had two terms in office entirely free of scandal. It was actually eight scandalous years with “cash for clunkers” market debasement and “Fast and Furious” gun running at the head of the nonstop scandal parade.