Another item on Obama’s list of corruption.
From Fox News
The Obama administration funneled billions of dollars to activist organizations through a Department of Justice slush fund scheme, according to congressional investigators.“It’s clear partisan politics played a role in the illicit actions that were made,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, told Fox News. “The DOJ is the last place this should have occurred.”
Findings spearheaded by the House Judiciary Committee point to a process shrouded in secrecy whereby monies were distributed to a labyrinth of nonprofit organizations involved with grass-roots activism.“Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told Fox News. “It’s a shakedown. It’s corrupt, pure and simple.”There is a recent effort by Republicans to eliminate the practice, which many believe was widely abused during the Obama administration.When big banks are sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they can settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims. The settlements do not specify how these third-party groups could use the windfall.
So far, investigators have accounted for $3 billion paid to “non-victim entities.”
Critics say banks are incentivized to donate the funds to non-profits rather than giving it to consumers.
“The underlying problem with the slush funds is we don’t know exactly where the money is going,” Ted Franks, director of The Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Class Action Fairness, told Fox News. “Using enforcement authority to go after corporate defendants, DOJ bureaucrats are taking billions away from taxpayers to fund their pet projects overriding congressional preferences.”
In a report released on Thursday by the Senate Homeland Security and Gov ernmental Affairs Committee detailing how the DOJ has essentially become a massive crime syndicate in the business of shaking down financial institutions, the report noted that the DOJ’s Housing settlements removed millions of dollars of third party payments from the Congressional appropriations process as well as judicial review. Of the settlement funds set aside for consumer relief, at least $640 million was set aside for third party payments to be disbursed by the banks according to the the settlement terms. By routing funds away fro the U.S. Treasury, the settlements have been able to circumvent congress’s spending authority as well as oversight.
Meaning, the DOJ unilaterally controlled the allocation of billions of dollars absent congressional and judicial involvement by forcing banks, under the terms of the settlement agreements, to distribute hundreds of millions of funds to third party organizations pre-approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Moreover, the DOJ did not require third party disbursements to go to homeowners actually aggrieved by the alleged wrong doing. Of the $36.65 billion in total settlements reached by the DOJ with these three financial institutions alone, the DOJ earmarked $13.5 billion for “consumer relief,” of which hundreds of millions are to be dispersed to selected third party groups approved by the administration. Naturally, the third party organizations are all politically active radical leftists groups.
……To understand how the shake-down works, the DOJ, as the federal government’s representative in Criminal and Civil suits affecting the interests of the United States, has the ability to enter into settlements with other parties. This isn’t the issue in question. What is in question is how the DOJ is using this power in order to execute settlement agreements requiring banks to disburse money to third party groups, rather than collecting fines that are appropriately subject to the Congressional appropriations process. The reason the DOJ is going this route, rather than imposing fines that would collect more money from the banks, is because under these settlement agreements the DOJ is allowed to act without any congressional oversight completely outside the purview of Congress itself.
For an example of how this works, in August 2014, Bank of America settled with the DOJ for $16.5 billion based on a settlement agreement that was premised on the DOJ’s inquiry into “the packaging, origination, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debit obligations.” The settlement agreement required Bank of America to pay more than $8.2 billion in civil monetary penalties to federal entities and individual states. Furthermore, the agreement also stipulates that Bank of America must pay more than $7 billion in “direct consumer relief.”
In order to fulfill it’s $7 billion consumer relief obligation, Bank of America is required to provide, “a minimum of $2.15 billion in first lien principal forgiveness, $50 million in donations to community development financial institutions, $30 million in state-based Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account organizations, and $20 million in donations to HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.” In addition, Bank of America is also required to take a $100 million loss in support of affordable rental housing. Which means, the DOJ has required Bank of America to make a $100 million donation to selected third party organizations, $20 million of which is also required to go to HUD approved “housing counseling agencies.” This example with Bank of America alone follows virtually the same exact requirement stipulated in the settlement agreement that the DOJ reached with Citigroup Inc., a pattern which the DOJ has followed against major financial institutions.
Following this pattern the DOJ has required these banks to distribute portions of their settlement payments to certain third-party groups which the DOJ directly influenced which groups would receive disbursements. Specifically, the DOJ narrowed the list of entities eligible to receive funds by selecting “HUD-approved housing counseling agencies” as the only entities to which the banks could make disbursements for credit. As the Wall Street Journal outlined in a piece highlighting the DOJ’s liberal slush fund, “the department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups.”
Among the radical leftist groups pre-approved by the settlement agreements to directly receive funds from the banks is none other than The National Council of La Raza, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest Hispanic activist organization.” Yet, a brief history lesson on the reality of La Raza, which literally translates to “the race,” shows us that the group has been connected to the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MEChA), an extremist Mexican race hate group which firmly believes in exploiting illegal immigration to bring about ‘La Reconquista’, a violent overthrow of the southern U.S. states that would be absorbed into Greater Mexico. It should come as no surprise that La Raza is favored under these settlement agreements given that the racist organization supports the Democratic cause of open borders while Cecilia Munoz, a La Raza senior vice president, also serves on the White House Domestic Policy Council.
……Like a criminal syndicate, the Obama administration shakes down banks, funds radical leftist organizations and makes themselves wealthy all the while using the power of the federal government under the guise of the DOJ acting with false pretenses to the law with purely political motivations.
Obama’s Operation Choke Point was another example of his crime syndicate:
A Justice Department fraud prevention program came under fire Thursday for allegedly morphing into actively pressuring banks to deny financial services to businesses for political reasons.
Operation Choke Point functions as a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and various other federal agencies which deal with bank regulations, specifically the Treasury and the SEC. The objective of the project is to choke-off fraudulent businesses from accessing financial services, in an effort to protect consumers.
The controversy, however, is over allegations that the DOJ is pressuring financial institutions to decline doing business with so-called “high risk” industries which line up squarely against the political leanings of the current administration. These businesses include ammunition sales, payday loans, pornography, fireworks companies, and others—24 industries in total, as listed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
“Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member. Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services…to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them,” said William M. Isaac, former chairman of the FDIC.
Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the legality of DOJ overreach. Letters have poured in from company owners in support of these suspicions, noting startling cases where the DOJ reportedly has directly strong-armed banks into dropping clients not engaging in fraud.