An important — and expensive — incentive for legal action involving the Department of Justice will come to an abrupt end. The DoJ announced this morning that it would end the practice of crafting settlements to lawsuits that resulted in significant financial awards to activists groups, a practice that had flourished in Barack Obama’s administration. A memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejects this policy, saying any punitive and restorative damages collected in lawsuits should go to American taxpayers:I was rather hoping they would shift to subsidizing conservative groups like the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, or the John Birch Society (just kidding). That way, lefties would be all hot to create a law against it.
In a memo sent to 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices early Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would end the practice that allowed companies to meet settlement burdens by giving money to groups that were neither victims nor parties to the case.While the practice existed before the Obama administration, it flourished under Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. The DoJ would pursue a case against a big-pocketed defendant, and then push them into a settlement that suddenly included contributions to any number of Democratic Party interest groups. Not only was this an inappropriate politicization of the DoJ and of attorney-client interests, it was also a big incentive to sue people so as to pay off constituencies. The DoJ’s announcement called it a “slush fund,” but it operated more like a shakedown.
Sessions said the money should, instead, go to the Treasury Department or victims.
“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,” Sessions said in a statement.
Without a backdoor source of funding from the Federal Government, a few of these liberal groups that flowered under the flow of money might wither up and blow away.