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Goodlatte: ‘Smoking Gun’ Emails Prove Obama’s DOJ Moved Settlements Away From Conservative Groups

Goodlatte: ‘Smoking Gun’ Emails Prove Obama’s DOJ Moved Settlements Away From Conservative Groups

“Aiding their political allies was only the half of it.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, claims that he has a “smoking gun” email that proves the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama directed funds from settlements away from conservative groups. From Fox News:

“It is not every day in congressional investigations that we find a smoking gun,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said Tuesday. “Here, we have it.”

While Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general, the Justice Department allowed prosecutors to strike agreements compelling big companies to give money to outside groups not connected to their cases to meet settlement burdens. Republican lawmakers long have decried those payments as a “slush fund” that boosted liberal groups, and the Trump DOJ ended the practice earlier this year.

An email from July 2014 shows one senior DOJ official discussing a settlement from Citigroup. This person did not want the money to go to conservatives:

“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.

On the House floor yesterday, Goodlatte brought up then-Associate Attorney General Tony West because documents contain evidence that his “team went out of its way to exclude conservative groups.” Fox News continued:

“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.

“Can you explain to Tony the best way to allocate some money to an organization of our choosing?” Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Elizabeth Taylor wrote in one November 2013 email.

Groups who received funding also expressed appreciation for West’s efforts, according to the emails.

“Now that it has been more than 24 hours for us all to try and digest the Bank of America settlement, I would like to discuss ways we might want to recognize and show appreciation for the Department of Justice and specifically Associate Attorney General Tony West,” wrote Charles R. Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar, in an August 2014 email.

Dunlap wrote that West “by all accounts was the one person most responsible” for the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts group receiving money.

One person, Bob LeClair, responded to Dunlap’s email by saying, “Frankly, I would be willing to have us build a statue [of West] and then we could bow down to this statue each day after we get our $200,000.”

West, who now works as an executive vice president at PepsiCo, did not immediately return an email from Fox News seeking comment.

Republicans have long attacked these “slush funds,” especially when settlement money went towards groups that had nothing to do with the case. For example, the government made Gibson Guitars hand over $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2012. This was considered a “community service payment” in a settlement to avoid charges for allegedly violating the Lacey Act, which was added to “the Endangered Species Act in 2008 to also provide for criminal penalties against the importation or use of illegally harvested plant materials.”

On Tuesday night, the House passed Goodlatte’s bill Stop Slush Funds Acts of 2017 that “permanently bars federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of settlement agreements, and requires that settlement money goes either directly to victims or to the Treasury.” He released this statement after the passage:

“An investigation by the House Judiciary Committee last Congress revealed the Department of Justice’s abuse of power: using settlement agreements to direct money away from victims toward organizations of their choosing and away from those they disliked. DOJ’s actions contradict the spending power given explicitly to the Legislative Branch and undermine Congress’s most effective tool to hold the Executive Branch accountable. Regardless of which party is in the White House, subverting Congress to funnel money to outside organizations is unacceptable and unconstitutional.

“I applaud the passage of this bipartisan bill that bans settlement payments to non-victim third parties permanently for future administrations. There should be no excuse or justification for this banned behavior, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to defend Congress’s constitutional interests and support H.R. 732.”


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Some of these types of settlements are long on vagueness as to any tilting to favored groups when one service company looks pretty much like another service company to the court.

That said, some of these settlements were downright screaming with favoritism with money going to groups that had nothing to do with the matter being settled. Just how can any federal judge accept this type of settlement ?

    4th armored div in reply to Neo. | October 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

    how many activist judges are there –
    think RB Ginsburg and the ‘smart Latina’.

    the list that obama, ghw bush, carter life appointees.

    i believe that ALL judges have stated terms, 25 years for SCOTUS, lesser for lower courts.

    the concept of non activist judges is long past.

Further evidence the Obama admin tried to replicate the Chicago Machine at the federal level.

They would have finished the job and gotten away with it if Hillary won the election.

Recall Geoffrey Graber to revisit his testimony and explain why he shouldn’t be charged with perjury and contempt of congress. Ask who briefed him and fed him the false testimony he gave, and then call that person, until the buck stops somewhere. Then charge everyone who was involved in the decision to lie to Congress.

    Observer in reply to Milhouse. | October 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Agree. He clearly perjured himself. Every member of the Obama administration seemed to think, with some justification, that they could lie their asses off in sworn testimony before congress, with impunity. It’s long past time for congress to disabuse them of that notion.

Was there a member of the dinglebarry admin that WASN’T a felon ?????

I sure hope they look at the Pigford cases. The settlement ballooned to 2.1 B from a base settlement less than under 100 M. Pigford is such an abuse of government money. I bet an audit of it would find billons of dollars misappropriated.

    4th armored div in reply to MarkSmith. | October 25, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Pigford v. Glickman was a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging racial discrimination against African-American farmers in its allocation of farm loans and assistance between 1981 and 1996.

    how many were ‘victims’ and who and how did they get?

      They expanded it to include more “victims” with Pigford II

        And a whole lot more money. The only bright light was when senators started realizing that 90% of the money was vanishing into one state, they started to stand up and complain, which throttled down the pace of the giveaway into something approaching sanity. There’ve been a couple of attempts to restart that kind of giveaway again, particularly in the last administration, but they all have been thwarted for the lack of loose cash in government hands and the inability to channel it into the right non-government hands. Thankfully.

This is Obama’s MO: find a real problem, use that problem as an excuse to direct real money to political fellow-travelers, get no positive results for the underlying problem.

See: Annenberg Challenge, Solyndra scandal.

For me, the lesson is that spending money on political organizing will not positively affect the scholastic performance of school children or housing problems of the poor. Diverting far larger amounts of money to politically-connected people, allegedly for the purpose of saving the environment, will have no effect, other than enriching politically-connected people.

    4th armored div in reply to Valerie. | October 25, 2017 at 11:14 am

    The Music Man/Film synopsis
    When Harold Hill, a traveling con man, arrives in River City,
    he convinces the locals to start a band by purchasing the uniforms and instruments from him. His intention is to flee as soon as he receives the money.
    on the film things turn out ok.

    not for the USA with the Obama conmen.

      Obama did not really learn the “Chicago Way.” Mike Royko famously described the difference between “clean graft” — where somebody related to somebody gets a contract and fulfills it, with “dirty graft” — where somebody gets a contract, takes the money, and does not produce any benefit from it.

      All Obama learned was the “dirty graft” part.

The press will ignore. Picture Hiroshima the day after… the press would report “nothing to see here”… literally nothing left to see but they will avoid reporting what caused it.

The_Donald has replaced Drudge for anyone who wants the latest gossip. It’s mostly juvenile cheerleading, but it also breaks news from mainstream sources faster than any other aggrigator.

And if someone important is banned by Twitter, you hear it there.

So, having found this “smoking gun” is Tony West going to be indicted for malfeasance? Or anything else?

No? Didn’t think so.

I am sure that there are plenty of lawsuits against the Federal government and Tyrant Obama the Liar’s oppression of conservatives. Trump should settle these in order to transfer billions of dollars to those who fight for our freedoms.

Is anyone going to jail over this? No?
Then I’m not interested in hearing about it.

The Obama reign (a democratic administration it was not) seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Every week we hear of new items discovered where the law was broken, unethical behavior was unearthed, the Constitution consciously violated, and so forth. The Leftists have gotten away with this behavior for so long they seem to think that they can do whatever they want without any consequence. Until people start going to jail, this behavior will never stop.

Tyrant Obama the Liar gave billions to Democratic Front groups and that is what is funding the anti-Trump hysteria.