by the independent nonprofit Government Accountability Institute contends that the Obama administration has been “politicizing” the Department of Justice and funneled fines imposed on banks to leftist organizations. The report, “Follow the Money: How the Department of Justice Funds Progressive Activists,”details how GAI discovered how President Obama’s DOJ took more than $600 million in fines charged to big banks as punishment for crimes but used the money to fund leftist groups.
GAI President Peter Schweizer has said that what the DOJ did was to offer banks deals in which in return for donating one dollar to a designated “charitable organization,” that seven dollars of their fine would be forgiven by the government or granted to parties injured by the banks themselves.
Politicization of justice
GAI reviewed the activity of various financial institutions, including the Bank of America, investment banks, and Wall Street firms. When Obama’s Department of Justice levied fines on these institutions as restitution for crimes, that they may or may not have committed, much of the money was transferred to left-wing organizations. Many victims of the banks’ actions were thus barred from receiving restitution themselves. In an interview
with radio host Laura Ingraham, Schweizer said, “So it’s politicizing the Department of Justice and it’s taking money that is supposed to be going to victims and diverting it and using it for political purposes.”
Banks have often been targeted for ostensibly resorting to racial discrimination in the granting of mortgages. By channeling monies garnered from fines levied on the banks, the Obama administration would thus be denying justice to victims of racial discrimination.
He described the “love-hate relationship” that exists between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and “progressive activists” who still want “their pound of flesh.” These groups, he said, have large budgets and identify “progressive voters,” said Schweizer, who they then register to vote and assist them in voting.
Extortive tactics by community organizers
In the executive summary of its study, the GAI said that Justice has instituted a reiterative process that provided significant funding for nonprofit ‘community organizers’ through a pattern of extortive lawsuits. The threat of a federal lawsuit, protracted litigation, negative public relations and, in some cases, criminal prosecution, has prodded private businesses – primarily financial institutions – to surrender millions of dollars to these organizations at the DOJ’s direction – often at the expense of those supposedly aggrieved by the banks’ actions. The DOJ has curated an opaque system wherein appointed attorneys can legally extract money from the private sector and redistribute the funds to third-party organizations outside of the appropriations process— an unprecedented and extraordinary disregard for Congressional
$37 billion in fines
The GAI found that during Attorney General Eric Holder’s tenure, more than $37 billion has been paid by U.S. banks under the threat of federal lawsuits. The Obama Justice department often incentivized these financial institutions to fund politically oriented nonprofits in lieu of paying restitution to specifically. Post-2008 settlement funds from the forty Consent Orders studied, totaled $37,284,315,250.00. All but $720 million came from three settlements: Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase.
“Many of the cases stand on the tenuous merit of ‘disparate impact theory,’” read one of the bullet points in the GAI executive summary, “where in the DOJ’s eyes banks become liable for charges of racism based upon the perceived injustice of lending disparity in certain lower income areas, regardless of the reasons for the disparity. NeighborWorks was cited as a major conduit for distribution of these funds, giving $53,583, 342 to the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), whose founder and leader is a self-described “bank terrorist.”
“Disparate impact”, as described in the report, “is a legal theory advanced by the Department of Justice under the Fair Housing Act which states that a policy may be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionate ‘adverse impact’ against any group based on race, national origin, color,religion, sex, familial status, or disability when there is no legitimate, non-discriminatory business need for the policy.”
Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) was one of the recipients of funds from NeighborWorks. According to GAI, AAFE has “communist roots and continued close ties to a very vocal North Korean sympathizer.” The report said that from 2008-2013, AAFE received over $4 million dollars as a NeighborWorks affiliate. Catalist (a data analytics company specializing in progressive causes with $2.25 million of investment funding from George Soros, was yet another recipient of funds, as was the nonprofit VOTE, which mobilized these “federally funded nonprofits...to get the vote out for those who ‘tend to be reliably progressive.’”
Another recipient of funds in the DOJ funds is the National Council of La Raza, a Chicano advocacy organization, which has a long history of political engagement and voter registration. In 2008, ABC News reported for example that La Raza was one of seven organizations committed to spending $350 million to mobilize voters and advocate “on behalf of Democratic candidates.” La Raza was committed to spending between $4 to $6 million on the project. La Raza received $3.1 million, according to GAI, from the DOJ lawsuit against three major banking institutions.