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January 20, 2016

Law Prof Hits at Practice of ‘Forced Philanthropy’ by Judges, Prosecutors

Chapman University Law Professor Ronald Rotunda criticizes the practice of judges and prosecutors “using their office to steer donations to favored charities.”

Rotunda notes that the Justice Department “settles cases by requiring defendants to pay money to favored nonprofits, often community-organizing groups that tend to support Democrats.”

“For example, in a settlement that the Justice Department arranged with Citibank and Bank of America, the companies were required to ‘donate’ $150 million to such groups,” writes Rotunda. “The donations earn double credit against the banks’ obligations, so that $150 million erases $300 million in fines.”

Rotunda cites a number of ethical opinions and guidelines that suggest the practice of “forced philanthropy” should be curtailed by the courts, or even Congress.

Read the full Wall Street Journal op-ed here.

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