The Regulatory Transparency Project is out with a timely new report on what it calls “improper third-party payments,” which were commonplace in the Obama era and look to make a big comeback in the Biden-Harris Administration. “Improper-third party payment” is the diplomatic name for what some call extortions or shakedowns of private companies.
And this is how the racket works.
The government brings a case against a company for alleged legal violations. But before the case goes to trial, the Department of Justice offers the company a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to make the case go away. How can the company make things right? By “donating” money to a DOJ slush fund reserved for left-wing activist groups. In some cases, the payments are made directly to a group. And voila! — the case against the company is “settled” without judgment, and the third-party entity reaps sudden windfalls, all without Congressional oversight or approvals. Indeed, in one case the DOJ sent settlement funds to an entity that Congress had previously acted to defund.
It’s just like giving to charity, except with a gun held to your head.
These shakedowns were big during the Obama years. But under President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wisely put a halt to them in 2017. Already, though, the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division has indicated that the payments will resume. Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, when asked about this corrupt practice, simply dodged, by saying “I don’t know very much at all about the policy.” How convenient!
With the Obama-Biden Gang back in the catbird seat, don’t be surprised to see these abuses of power return in full force.