The Justice Department announced Wednesday it will no longer allow prosecutors to strike settlement agreements with big companies directing them to make payouts to outside groups, ending an Obama-era practice that Republicans decried as a “slush fund” that padded the accounts of liberal interest groups.
In a memo sent to 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices early Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would end the practice that allowed companies to meet settlement burdens by giving money to groups that were neither victims nor parties to the case. [Fox News]
That such a policy was ever in place is extraordinary. To recap: Under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Justice Department regularly designed legal settlements in which well-heeled defendants were encouraged (read: forced) to donate money to third parties with no legal connection to the case being adjudicated. So, for example, the DOJ used mortgage-lending settlements with JP Morgan, Citi, and Bank of America to funnel millions of dollars to community redevelopment organizations, housing groups, and non-profit legal-aid organizations. Naturally, the beneficiaries were selected by the DOJ.