01.17.2018 0

Jeff Sessions is turning the Justice Dept. around

By Printus LeBlanc

While everyone is wondering what was said and what was not said, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is quietly restoring the rule of law and eliminating the progressive leftist funding mechanisms installed by the Obama administration. It is time to recognize the excellent work Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doing.

One of the most overlooked actions Attorney General Jeff Sessions took was to end third-party settlements. Under the previous administration, the Justice Department allowed companies it fined to pay third-parties organizations not associated with the original crime. Not only did the department allow the offenders to pay third-parties, they received double the credit for doing so. The payments would go to Obama administration approved organizations such as National Council of La Raza, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Urban League. All left leaning organizations that help the help the Democrat Party carry out its mission. Congressional investigators estimate at least $3 billion went to third-party groups during the Obama administration.

Sessions issued the order on June 7, 2017, stating, “When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people— not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Unfortunately, in recent years the Department of Justice has sometimes required or encouraged defendants to make these payments to third parties as a condition of settlement. With this directive, we are ending this practice and ensuring that settlement funds are only used to compensate victims, redress harm, and punish and deter unlawful conduct.”

The Sessions led Justice Department has also ended the “sue and settle” scheme. Under the Obama administration, left-leaning groups would sue the federal government to enforce a regulation in a new, expanded way. Because the Obama administration agreed with the left-leaning groups, they refused to defend the federal laws on the books, and would “settle” the suit by signing “consent decrees” that functioned as new regulation.

Not only did the practice create new regulations devoid of congressional oversight, but it also became a cash cow for liberal law firms. Because the government refused to mount a defense, the left-leaning groups were entitled to substantial attorneys’ fees, paid for by the taxpayer. This was another scheme to fund the left and change the laws without going through Congress. But thanks to Sessions, this is no longer happening.

An indictment connected to Rosatom subsidiary Tenex was announced last Friday and sent shockwaves through D.C., because it was only just a few weeks ago world learned about the investigation. The Justice Department announced an 11-count indictment that included money laundering, wire fraud, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Rosatom is the same Russia state-owned company that bought Uranium One in an Obama era scandal that gave control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium to the company, which at the time was under investigation by the FBI. Not only did the suspicious transaction take place with the company being investigated by the counterintelligence community, but the Clinton Foundation received tens of millions in donations from people directly connected to the individuals and businesses involved.

And thanks to the Justice Department reopening this investigation, a second look is being taken at the transaction, already producing an indictment.

As good a job as Sessions is doing, his actions will only be sustained by his current administration of the department. In the future, a more liberal administration could overturn the decisions.

For these reforms to become permanent — and to prevent them from happening again — the Congress should pass specific pieces of legislation. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has a bill H.R. 732, Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017 that has already passed the House, and now sits in the Senate awaiting action. The House has also put the legislation in the upcoming budget, Sec 540, but unfortunately, the Senate has yet to act.

A separate investigation and audit also needs to be conducted into the billions that were already paid out to third party groups. The funds were given to politically connected organizations for specific reasons outlined in the settlement agreements. If this was not done correctly, money needs to be repaid, and charges need to be brought against those that committed fraud.

Overall, just because Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn’t seek the limelight doesn’t mean he is not doing a good job. He has stopped the progressives from using the government to fund themselves. He is holding people in the DOJ accountable as evidenced by the recent departures, and the rule of law is being reinstituted in the country. Jeff Sessions is turning around the Justice Department.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government.

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