The Department of Justice (DOJ)—the executive department responsible for enforcing the law of our land—has lately become less of a beacon of justice and more of a commission-based operator, thanks to a little-known rule that allows the department to keep up to three percent of its take in fines and penalties.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said it best himself when he lauded the agency’s successes by highlighting the “valuable return on investment” collected by the Justice Department’s civil and criminal actions in 2014; since when are profit and justice synonymous?
An agency whose sole function is the administration of impartial justice making decisions based on the size of their commission is wrong.
That’s why House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has reintroduced Stop Settlements Slush Funds Act of 2017 (H.R. 522). The bill’s intent is simple: ensure that prosecutors are motivated by justice and not their agency’s own financial gain.
The Slush Funds Act will prohibiting the DOJ from keeping parts of fines and penalties and will also prohibit federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of their settlement agreements with the federal government.
The Slush Funds Act passed the House in the last Congress, but with a new Congress and administration there is heightened optimism that this bill can become law.
Here’s to hoping that prosecutors go back to pursing justice rather than profit.