U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Representative Lance Gooden (R-TX-05) led 33 colleagues in a bicameral letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stating their opposition to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) return to the Obama-era practice of directing legal settlements to partisan, non-victim organizations. Senate signatories of the letter include Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
“The Biden administration is attempting to take a page from the Obama playbook to funnel money to its political allies by requiring federal defendants to pay a portion of their settlement funds to outside activist groups. This corrupt practice is a prime example of executive overreach. It is Congress’s job to direct federal funds and federal bureaucrats should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. Federal settlement funds should go to the victims first and then to the U.S. Treasury. I will continue to push for government accountability and transparency at all levels of the federal government,” said Senator Tuberville.
“President Biden knows Republicans are set to regain control of the House next year and is determined to circumvent the Constitutional role of Congress to fund his radical agenda,” said Representative Gooden. “Settlement agreement payments should go to the victims, not fund Democrats’ partisan pet projects.”
The letter is written in response to the public comment period for the DOJ’s interim final rule published on May 10, 2022. The rule seeks to reverse regulations that protected victim compensation, restored confidence in the judicial process, and respected congressional spending power. If published as a final rule, this policy would mark the return of an Obama-era DOJ practice that allowed settling parties in a federal dispute to reduce their punishment by making “donations” to special interest groups of the DOJ’s choosing, cultivating an environment ripe for corruption and abuse.
Read the full text of the letter HERE.
Senator Tuberville previously introduced the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act to ensure when the federal government settles a lawsuit, settlement funds will go only to the victims, injured parties in the dispute, or the U.S. Treasury. The bill would prohibit settling parties in a federal dispute from reducing their punishments by making “donations” to outside organizations. Representative Gooden introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Watch Senator Tuberville speak about the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act.