WASHINGTON, D.C. — Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), today issued the following statement about the U.S. House of Representatives passing an amendment to bar the Department of Justice (DOJ) from diverting settlement money to third-party groups. The amendment (H.Amdt.319) to the FY16 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2578) blocks funding for requiring defendants to donate to third parties as a requirement of settling a case, and passed on a voice vote.
“The Department of Justice should not work on a commission. We commend Chairman Goodlatte and the House for ensuring that prosecutors make decisions in the public interest, not for their own personal or political interest. Funding pet projects and organizations out of settlement funds goes beyond the limits of good enforcement practices.
“Congress alone has the power of the purse to appropriate public monies, and this amendment is an important step in restoring that duty.”
In March, ILR released Enforcement Slush Funds: Funding Federal and State Agencies with Enforcement Proceeds, a study detailing how permitting federal and state prosecutors to retain billions of dollars in law enforcement settlement money allows the profit motive to trump public interest and undercuts legislative spending authority. The paper calls for curbing the practice at the federal and state levels.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
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