Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
October 25th, 2017
An investigation has obtained a “smoking gun” email that proves the Obama Justice Department prevented settlement payouts from going to conservative-leaning organizations, even as liberal groups were awarded money and DOJ officials denied “picking and choosing” recipients.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said, “It is not every day in congressional investigations that we find a smoking gun, Here, we have it.”
During Eric Holder’s term as Attorney General, the DOJ would misuse their authority and legally extort large settlements from conservative-owned companies that would be given to outside groups not associated with their cases.
Those payments have been denounced by the GOP & conservatives as nothing more than a “slush fund” that boosted leftist-liberal groups, and the shady practice continued until President Trump took office.
Internal Justice Department emails released by Goodlatte show that officials were actively involved in what organizations got settlements, and that the Holder-led DOJ intervened to assure that no conservative groups received settlements.
A senior DOJ official expressed “concerns” in a July 2014 email about what groups would receive settlement money from Citigroup — saying they didn’t want money going to a group that does “conservative property-rights legal services.”, reports Fox News.
“Concerns include: a) not allowing Citi to pick a statewide intermediary like the Pacific Legal Foundation (does conservative property-rights legal services),” the official, whose name is redacted in the email, wrote under the title of “Acting Senior Counselor for Access to Justice.”
The official added that “we are more likely to get the right result from a state bar association affiliated entity.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation responded to the email release Tuesday by telling Fox News it believes “permanent reforms to prevent such abuse are needed.”
“We are flattered that the previous administration would be concerned enough about our success vindicating individual liberty and property rights to prevent settlement funds from making their way to Pacific Legal Foundation,” PLF CEO Steven D. Anderson said in a statement.
Goodlatte, who is sponsoring the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017, disclosed the emails during a speech on the House floor, taking aim at then-Associate Attorney General Tony West.
“Aiding their political allies was only the half of it,” Goodlatte said. “The evidence of the Obama DOJ’s abuse of power shows that Tony West’s team went out of its way to exclude conservative groups.”
The documents indicate West played an active role in helping certain organizations obtain settlement information.
In 2015, however, Geoffrey Graber, who oversaw the Justice Department’s big banks settlements, told Goodlatte during a congressional hearing that the department “did not want to be in the business of picking and choosing which organizations may or may not receive any funding under the agreement.”
“But internal DOJ documents tell a different story,” Goodlatte said Tuesday. “They show that contrary to Graber’s sworn testimony, the donation provisions were structured to aid the Obama administration’s political friends and exclude conservative groups.”
Even before the release of Tuesday’s emails, Republicans had blasted these settlements as a “slush fund” for favored groups.
Gibson Guitars was forced to pay $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2012, though that organization has nothing to do with the case. In 2014, Bank of America gave money to the National Urban League, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and the National Council of La Raza as part of a major mortgage fraud settlement stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.
Goodlatte on Tuesday praised Sessions’ move that ended the extortion-resembling policy mandatory donations, and added that his legislation a “good governance measure,” saying that is was necessary to prevent a future corrupt Justice Department from reversing the action. The bill prohibits the Justice Department from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of a settlement with the federal government.
The Obama administration frequently targeted conservative organizations, and gave special attention to any groups with the phrase “Tea Party” in their group’s name.
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