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Obama’s “Iran-Contra”

 

I read the following in July 16th’s Wall Street Journal:

The Obama Jus­tice De­part­ment made a prac­tice of set­tling law­suits against cor­po­rate de­fen­dants by re­quir­ing they make large do­na­tions to groups like La Raza. It was, in the words of House Ju­di­ciary Com­mittee Chair­man Bob Goodlatte, “a scheme to fun­nel money to po­lit­i­cally fa­vored spe­cial in­ter­est groups.” In a let­ter sent to At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch in the clos­ing days of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mr. Good­latte noted that “in just the last two years, DOJ has di­rected nearly $1 bil­lion to ac­tivist groups, en­tirely out­side of Con­gress’s spend­ing and over­sight au­thor­ity.”

I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard about this practice until now. Even after his leaving office, I still find reasons to be appalled by our previous president. Chalk this up as item #1,742 on the list of things that would have been front-page scandals if a Republican had done them.

This is at least as bad as the Iran-Contra affair, and this was done in the open!

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Members have made 38 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    Is this not illegal?

    • #1
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:05 am
    • Like4 likes
  2. Profile photo of Majestyk Thatcher

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Is this not illegal?

    Of course not. The Justice department has wide powers to broker lawsuits brought against companies by individuals or groups.

    And yes, I agree that this is precisely as loathsome as it sounds. But this is a consequence of who wins elections.

    • #2
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:09 am
    • Like10 likes
  3. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Is this not illegal?

    Of course not. The Justice department has wide powers to broker lawsuits brought against companies by individuals or groups.

    And yes, I agree that this is precisely as loathsome as it sounds. But this is a consequence of who wins elections.

    Interesting. So if I’m the president, and my justice department brings a suit against LL Bean for, say, discriminating against the differently abled…we can settle it by having LL Bean give money to Special Olympics…or can I have them send a check to the Clinton Foundation, or any other group I felt like rewarding helping?
    Is this a normal practice for other presidential administrations?

    • #3
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:20 am
    • Like6 likes
  4. Profile photo of Majestyk Thatcher

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Is this not illegal?

    Of course not. The Justice department has wide powers to broker lawsuits brought against companies by individuals or groups.

    And yes, I agree that this is precisely as loathsome as it sounds. But this is a consequence of who wins elections.

    Interesting. So if I’m the president, and my justice department brings a suit against LL Bean for, say, discriminating against the differently abled…we can settle it by having LL Bean give money to Special Olympics…or can I have them send a check to the Clinton Foundation, or any other group I felt like rewarding helping?
    Is this a normal practice for other presidential administrations?

    I’m pretty sure that the Clinton Administration pioneered this particular innovation/shakedown. I believe that the lawsuit has to originate from an external source; i.e., from some individual or group claiming discrimination under the various suspect categories. The problem is that paying off these claims is easier and cheaper than fighting them in court. Not to mention the public relations hit you take for having “LL Bean sued for discrimination” appearing in the headlines.

    • #4
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:34 am
    • Like10 likes
  5. Profile photo of Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya Post author

    Legal or not, the practice is deeply corrupt. Just as the government should not be engaged in the practice of picking winners and losers in business, it should not pick recipients of legal settlements.

    I wonder if the George W. Bush administration funneled settlements to conservative groups?

    • #5
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:52 am
    • Like11 likes
  6. Profile photo of Majestyk Thatcher

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    Legal or not, the practice is deeply corrupt. Just as the government should not be engaged in the practice of picking winners and losers in business, it should not pick recipients of legal settlements.

    I wonder if the George W. Bush administration funneled settlements to conservative groups?

    I’m almost certain that if he did there would have been a hue and cry. I don’t think the Bush Administration should have been pushing the “faith based initiative” either, but there was significant shouting about it from the very people who would have been yowling if Ashcroft had pulled a stunt like this.

    • #6
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:59 am
    • Like4 likes
  7. Profile photo of Could Be Anyone Member

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Is this not illegal?

    • #7
    • July 17, 2017 at 8:02 am
    • Like2 likes
  8. Profile photo of Hang On Member

    This also happens in state governments as well.

    • #8
    • July 17, 2017 at 8:08 am
    • Like1 like
  9. Profile photo of Hoyacon Member

    I can’t say for sure, but this feels like Tom Perez.

    The hated WSJ paywall prevents me from reading more on this, but it seems tailor made for a longer piece in NR or The Weekly Standard, Daily Wire, Federalist–anywhere. A list of lawsuits, amount of “donation” and recipient would be most interesting.

    • #9
    • July 17, 2017 at 8:26 am
    • Like4 likes
  10. Profile photo of Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya Post author

    I was going to write a further comment that such settlements should only be paid to the Treasury or to plaintiffs. But first, I did a little Bing-ing (because my Google machine is not working).

    Well, thank you, Jeff Sessions (as reported last month in the New York Times):

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a memo issued this week, directed the Justice Department to no longer include funding for projects managed by outside groups in settlements with corporate wrongdoers. The settlement money will instead go exclusively to the federal Treasury or to victims of the company’s actions, Mr. Sessions said.

    • #10
    • July 17, 2017 at 10:52 am
    • Like12 likes
  11. Profile photo of Gumby Mark Member

    This was a scandal hiding in plain sight for 8 years. The Obama administration knew the banks and other institutions would take the least painless way out to avoid nasty public litigation. Anytime it needed to funnel monies to its self annointed “public interest” allies it would initiate another lawsuit.

    • #11
    • July 17, 2017 at 11:28 am
    • Like5 likes
  12. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I was going to write a further comment that such settlements should only be paid to the Treasury or to plaintiffs. But first, I did a little Bing-ing (because my Google machine is not working).

    Well, thank you, Jeff Sessions (as reported last month in the New York Times):

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a memo issued this week, directed the Justice Department to no longer include funding for projects managed by outside groups in settlements with corporate wrongdoers. The settlement money will instead go exclusively to the federal Treasury or to victims of the company’s actions, Mr. Sessions said.

    Okay—see, now this is what I thought should and therefore must happen! I am so naive.

    • #12
    • July 17, 2017 at 11:29 am
    • Like2 likes
  13. Profile photo of Gumby Mark Member

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):

    I’m almost certain that if he did there would have been a hue and cry. I don’t think the Bush Administration should have been pushing the “faith based initiative” either, but there was significant shouting about it from the very people who would have been yowling if Ashcroft had pulled a stunt like this.

    I agree on the Faith Based Initiative, which should not have been started although, to his credit Bush ran it on a non-partisan basis with those heading the office not associated with partisan politics so that funneling did not occur. One of the reasons the office should never have been created is that for progressives nothing is non-political. When Obama took office he appointed someone who worked on his campaign to head the office and it became a coordination and communication tool in support of Obama policies – to the extent that Obama was doing phone calls with Reform Jewish and progressive Christian leaders before religious holidays on messaging around Obamacare and other initiatives that they could deploy in their sermons. The New York Times was not disturbed by this.

    • #13
    • July 17, 2017 at 11:32 am
    • Like5 likes
  14. Profile photo of Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya Post author

    And even more importantly, thank you, Rep. Goodlatte, because making the practice illegal will prevent future Democrat administrations from reinstating it:

    A bill with similar intent, sponsored by Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, passed a House committee in February. It would prevent the government from using settlement money from civil cases for purposes other than direct victim compensation or remediation, like cleanups of environmental disasters. A version of the bill passed the House last year, but died in the Senate.

    • #14
    • July 17, 2017 at 11:34 am
    • Like3 likes
  15. Profile photo of Majestyk Thatcher

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):

    I’m almost certain that if he did there would have been a hue and cry. I don’t think the Bush Administration should have been pushing the “faith based initiative” either, but there was significant shouting about it from the very people who would have been yowling if Ashcroft had pulled a stunt like this.

    I agree on the Faith Based Initiative, which should not have been started although, to his credit Bush ran it on a non-partisan basis with those heading the office not associated with partisan politics so that funneling did not occur. One of the reasons the office should never have been created is that for progressives nothing is non-political. When Obama took office he appointed someone who worked on his campaign to head the office and it became a coordination and communication tool in support of Obama policies – to the extent that Obama was doing phone calls with Reform Jewish and progressive Christian leaders before religious holidays on messaging around Obamacare and other initiatives that they could deploy in their sermons. The New York Times was not disturbed by this.

    Right, this is where Bush’s political instincts were wrongheaded. He created an office in the interest of doing good and tried to make it politically neutral. Of course, the left, as you said viewed this as an opportunity – an opportunity which they seized on when Obama arrived.

    Here’s yet another thing that Trump could move against by simply eliminating it – along with AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, etc… I worry that his instincts don’t run in that direction.

    • #15
    • July 17, 2017 at 11:40 am
    • Like4 likes
  16. Profile photo of Carol Member

    Hang On (View Comment):
    This also happens in state governments as well.

    I think the odious Elliot Spitzer when he was NY AG was a practitioner.

    • #16
    • July 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm
    • Like3 likes
  17. Profile photo of tigerlily Member

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I was going to write a further comment that such settlements should only be paid to the Treasury or to plaintiffs. But first, I did a little Bing-ing (because my Google machine is not working).

    Well, thank you, Jeff Sessions (as reported last month in the New York Times):

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a memo issued this week, directed the Justice Department to no longer include funding for projects managed by outside groups in settlements with corporate wrongdoers. The settlement money will instead go exclusively to the federal Treasury or to victims of the company’s actions, Mr. Sessions said.

    Yeah, this practice was clearly and deeply corrupt. I’m glad Sessions is ending this practice; but, it seems to me that the Sessions methodology (settlement monies to the Treasury or the damaged parties) should be codified by congressional legislation so these sort of abuses can’t happen again.

    • #17
    • July 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm
    • Like5 likes
  18. Profile photo of Sandy Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I can’t say for sure, but this feels like Tom Perez.

    The hated WSJ paywall prevents me from reading more on this, but it seems tailor made for a longer piece in NR or The Weekly Standard, Daily Wire, Federalist–anywhere. A list of lawsuits, amount of “donation” and recipient would be most interesting.

    @Hoyacon, the OP quotes the most important section. The rest of the article is about La Raza.

    • #18
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:15 pm
    • Like2 likes
  19. Profile photo of Sandy Member

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I was going to write a further comment that such settlements should only be paid to the Treasury or to plaintiffs. But first, I did a little Bing-ing (because my Google machine is not working).

    Well, thank you, Jeff Sessions (as reported last month in the New York Times):

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a memo issued this week, directed the Justice Department to no longer include funding for projects managed by outside groups in settlements with corporate wrongdoers. The settlement money will instead go exclusively to the federal Treasury or to victims of the company’s actions, Mr. Sessions said.

    Th

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I was going to write a further comment that such settlements should only be paid to the Treasury or to plaintiffs. But first, I did a little Bing-ing (because my Google machine is not working).

    Well, thank you, Jeff Sessions (as reported last month in the New York Times):

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a memo issued this week, directed the Justice Department to no longer include funding for projects managed by outside groups in settlements with corporate wrongdoers. The settlement money will instead go exclusively to the federal Treasury or to victims of the company’s actions, Mr. Sessions said.

    Thanks, Johnny Dubya, and shame on the WSJ author for not pointing this out.

    • #19
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm
    • Like4 likes
  20. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    It wasn’t just the Dep’t. of Justice.

    Obama’s EPA also made use of this strategy. Leftist lawyers at EPA would find a really weak case in a really liberal jurisdiction. They would leak information to their friends at Sierra Club or Greenpeace or Environmental Defense Fund. The organization would sue EPA, EPA would put up a sham defense. The liberal judge would rule against EPA, and then EPA would pay a fine to their friends.

    The bonus was that then they could go around infringing the liberties of property owners all over the country, and defend themselves by saying that they were under a court order.

    • #20
    • July 17, 2017 at 8:27 pm
    • Like11 likes
  21. Profile photo of Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya Post author

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    It wasn’t just the Dep’t. of Justice.

    Obama’s EPA also made use of this strategy. Leftist lawyers at EPA would find a really weak case in a really liberal jurisdiction. They would leak information to their friends at Sierra Club or Greenpeace or Environmental Defense Fund. The organization would sue EPA, EPA would put up a sham defense. The liberal judge would rule against EPA, and then EPA would pay a fine to their friends.

    The bonus was that then they could go around infringing the liberties of property owners all over the country, and defend themselves by saying that they were under a court order.

    Whoa! Links, please!

    • #21
    • July 18, 2017 at 11:10 am
    • Like1 like
  22. Profile photo of WillowSpring Member

    @mjbubba

    “The liberal judge would rule against EPA, and then EPA would pay a fine to their friends.”

    I believe that the EPA would also reimburse legal costs.

    • #22
    • July 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm
    • Like2 likes
  23. Profile photo of RushBabe49 Thatcher

    https://ricochet.com/436105/the-trumpsessions-department-of-justice-just-did-justice/

    • #23
    • July 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    • Like2 likes
  24. Profile photo of Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Okay—see, now this is what I thought should and therefore must happen! I am so naive.

    Me too Kate. I feel foolish not to have known about this, angry at the press and Congress for allowing it without oversight — and just plain sad.

    • #24
    • July 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm
    • Like1 like
  25. Profile photo of RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I might try doing a search for stories with the phrase “agreed to pay” in them, and I bet it will have hundreds of hits on this kind of situation.

    • #25
    • July 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm
    • Like1 like
  26. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Obama and everyone he appointed to work for him are corrupt disgusting people without decency. Hillary had her own swamp dwellers oozing through the slime to join her. Republicans entrenched in DC are no better. Any chance to correct problems lies with the appointees of our president and yes our strange president himself. Because of those opposing the president and the president’s own ineptitude I expect little to be corrected. The next dem will set the gravy train right somehow and no one will be the wiser. This is our country. It sucks.

    • #26
    • July 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm
    • Like2 likes
  27. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    The Federal government in all its distorted shapes is rotten to the core. We have to cut it with a chain saw, deeply bloodily and without mercy. It’s good that we’re at least stopping some of the worst practices but the offices and folks involved in anything remotely corrupt should be shut and the people let go. This alone is reason to reform the tax code such that the IRS loses most of its raison d ‘etre. Sessons, however is sympathetic to the same confiscations related to the war on drugs. It all has to go because we can’t make the place accountable so it will always drift toward corruption.

    • #27
    • July 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm
    • Like2 likes
  28. Profile photo of civil westman Member

    This corrupt practice stands for the proposition that the real “intersectionality” of our times can be found where Kafka meets Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” We are continuously shrilly harangued by a lump of entitled, self-loathing, despicable, self-righteous SJW zealots, whose belief system is an incoherent utopian/environ-mental case primal scream. The only way out seems further down. We really need Divine intervention.

    • #28
    • July 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm
    • Like4 likes
  29. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    It wasn’t just the Dep’t. of Justice.

    Obama’s EPA also made use of this strategy. Leftist lawyers at EPA would find a really weak case in a really liberal jurisdiction. They would leak information to their friends at Sierra Club or Greenpeace or Environmental Defense Fund. The organization would sue EPA, EPA would put up a sham defense. The liberal judge would rule against EPA, and then EPA would pay a fine to their friends.

    The bonus was that then they could go around infringing the liberties of property owners all over the country, and defend themselves by saying that they were under a court order.

    Whoa! Links, please!

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/349111/enviro-fix-jillian-kay-melchior

    • #29
    • July 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm
    • Like2 likes
  30. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    MJBubba (View Comment):

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    It wasn’t just the Dep’t. of Justice.

    Obama’s EPA also made use of this strategy. Leftist lawyers at EPA would find a really weak case in a really liberal jurisdiction. They would leak information to their friends at Sierra Club or Greenpeace or Environmental Defense Fund. The organization would sue EPA, EPA would put up a sham defense. The liberal judge would rule against EPA, and then EPA would pay a fine to their friends.

    The bonus was that then they could go around infringing the liberties of property owners all over the country, and defend themselves by saying that they were under a court order.

    Whoa! Links, please!

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/349111/enviro-fix-jillian-kay-melchior

    Grassley and Collins were making progress; I don’t know the current status.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/17/gop-moves-to-increase-oversight-of-epa-sue-and-settle-lawsuits/

    • #30
    • July 18, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    • LikeLike
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