Of course we want the Department of Justice to prosecute wrongdoers. If found guilty the penalties should be of consequence. However, the penalties should not be used to fill the coffers of cronies!
Our Department of Justice robs taxpayers of money that should have been paid into the national treasury. The Bank of America and Citigroup settlements are a case in point.
[Source: The Department of Justice Practice That Robs Taxpayers, by Paul J. Larkin, Jr.]
[From the Larkin article] As part of the settlement of a criminal or civil case, the department can require a defendant to pay money over to a third party, rather than write a check to the federal government. The department did that in the Bank of America and Citigroup cases by requiring the banks to make “donations” to organizations such as “community development funds, legal aid organizations, and housing counseling agencies” who were not the victims of the banks’ wrongdoing.
Ergo private companies and citizens can be forced to “donate” cash to groups like ACORN. Our community-organizer-president has chosen a Department of Justice that was resolved to find a way to fund such organizations “off the books.” Does that sound like “justice” to you? The department is simply taking money that belongs to taxpayers and giving it to the government’s cronies.
When you look at this in reverse, the idiocy and illegality of these “settlements” becomes clearer. Let us assume that Bank of America and Citigroup prevailed in the lawsuit brought the government, and the settlement required the government to pay the banks a large sum. Then ask yourself this question: Can the lawyers for either bank tell the government to pay millions of dollars to the CEO’s or the lawyer’s favorite charity, instead of making out the check to the bank?
The answer is clear: They could not. It would be a violation of a lawyer’s fiduciary duty to his client and would be tantamount to theft.
This mechanism provides a means to circumvent the Constitutional powers of the Congress. Only Congress can appropriate taxpayer dollars. Congress is not going to fund community organizers like ACORN. But these machinations by the Justice Department allow the executive branch to perform an end run around Congress’s prerogative regarding the federal appropriations process.