DoJ Jumps On The Wealth Redistribution Bandwagon

It just never ends with these marxists.  When can we perp walk these folks out of the White House for breaking their oaths to the Constitution?

Justice Department steers money to favored groups

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
August 5, 2010

The Justice Department has found a new way to pursue civil rights lawsuits, using the powers of the Civil Rights Division not just to win compensation for victims of alleged discrimination but also to direct large sums of money to activist groups that are not discrimination victims and not connected to a particular suit.

In the past, when the Civil Rights Division filed suit against, say, a bank or a landlord, alleging discrimination in lending or rentals, the cases were often settled by the defendant paying a fine to the U.S. Treasury and agreeing to put aside a sum of money to compensate the alleged discrimination victims. There was then a search for those victims — people who were actually denied a loan or an apartment — who stood to be compensated. After everyone who could be found was paid, there was often money left over. That money was returned to the defendant.

Now, Attorney General Eric Holder and Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez have a new plan. Any unspent money will not go back to the defendant but will instead go to a “qualified organization” approved by the Justice Department. And if there is not enough unspent money — that will be determined by the Department — then the defendant might be required to come up with more money to give to the “qualified organization.”

The arrangement was used in a recently-settled case, United States v. AIG Federal Savings Bank and Wilmington Finance. The Justice Department alleged that AIG violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by allowing third-party wholesale mortgage brokers to “charge African-American borrowers higher direct broker fees for residential real estate-related loans than white borrowers.” The financial institution denied any wrongdoing, and there was no factual finding of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, under the terms of a March 19, 2010 consent decree, AIG agreed to pay $6.1 million to “aggrieved persons who may have suffered as a result of the alleged violations.”

That is standard procedure in such cases. But then AIG also agreed, in the words of the consent decree, to “provide a minimum of $1,000,000 to qualified organization(s) to provide credit counseling, financial literacy, and other related educational programs targeted at African-American borrowers.” The money would come from unspent funds in the victim-compensation fund. But if it turned out that, after paying off the victims, there was less than $1 million left in the victim-compensation fund, AIG agreed to “replenish the settlement fund so that it contains $1,000,000 for distribution for those educational purposes.”

The consent decree directs AIG to consult with the Justice Department on which “qualified organizations” could receive money, and it gives the Department the right to approve where the money will go. In any event, the money will go to groups who have no direct connection to the lawsuit and its allegations of discrimination.
Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, says no money has yet been given to organizations under the AIG agreement. But she adds that the funds, and those from other cases, will “go to ‘qualified organizations’ that have a mission that addresses whatever the harm is that was the subject of the litigation.”
The Department followed a similar procedure in another case, United States v. Sterling. In that suit, which was first filed in 2006, the Department accused a large California landlord of violating the Fair Housing Act and other laws by “refusing to rent to non-Korean prospective tenants, misrepresenting the availability of apartment units to non-Korean prospective tenants, and providing inferior treatment to non-Korean tenants in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.”

The defendants did not admit any wrongdoing, and there was no factual finding of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, in a November 3, 2009 consent decree, the defendants agreed to pay $2.625 million to compensate alleged victims. On top of that, the consent decree stipulated that if there weren’t enough alleged victims on which to spend the $2.625 million, then what’s left “shall be distributed…to a qualified organization(s) mutually agreed upon by the United States and defendants…for the purpose of conducting fair housing enforcement or educational activities in Los Angeles County.”

Hinojosa says that in the Sterling case, $40,000 will be split between the victim fund administrator and a group called the Southern California Housing Rights Center. According to the Center’s website, its goal is to promote “freedom of residence” through the use of “education, advocacy and litigation.” Thus, money used to settle a lawsuit over alleged discrimination might well go to fund yet another lawsuit over alleged discrimination.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, recently learned about the new Justice Department practice and on July 8 sent a letter to Holder asking for an explanation. “While these settlements may appear reasonable on their face, I am concerned that this change in policy has the potential to divert compensation intended for victims to third party interest groups that were not wronged by the defendant,” Grassley wrote. “Absent proper safeguards and internal controls, this policy change could drastically alter the way victims are compensated and could set the Department down a path where third party interest groups are compensated to a greater level than victims. Moreover, as a staunch supporter of victims’ rights, I want to know what this change in policy means for individual victims and for advocacy groups that are both selected and not selected to serve as ‘qualified organizations.'”

Grassley asked Holder which suits have been settled or are being settled in this fashion, how much money is involved, and what guidelines apply to the settlements. “What, if any, qualifications are taken into consideration when determining whether an organization should be designated a ‘qualifying organization’?” Grassley asked. “What protections and safeguards are in place to oversee the use of funds by the ‘qualified organization’ to ensure that monies that could otherwise be used for victim compensation are used in a manner free of fraud, waste, and abuse?”

Grassley has not yet received an answer from Holder.

Republicans are particularly concerned that the “qualified organizations” money might end up with groups that are associated with the community organizing group formerly known as ACORN. Republican lawmakers want to avoid sending federal money to groups that Congress has deemed unsuitable to receive it.

But the concerns of Republicans, and perhaps some Democrats, go beyond ACORN and other activist groups. The new Civil Rights Division tactic represents a departure from a fundamental principle of such cases, which is the pursuit of justice on behalf of actual victims. “If the Department of Justice recovers funds for alleged civil rights violations, the money should go to compensate victims or to the Treasury,” says Bob Driscoll, who was a top official in the Civil Rights Division during the first two years of the George W. Bush administration. “The practice of the Civil Rights Division steering settlement funds to favored advocacy groups is at odds with both civil rights laws and common sense. If Congress wants to fund certain advocacy groups or set up grants for agencies to award in order to promote non-discrimination, it can. But allowing the Civil Rights Division to steer a defendant’s money to its ideological allies is offensive.”

DoJ Blocks Congressional Requests

DoJ Blocks Congressional Requests

Both sides of the aisle are getting frustrated with the White House and the DoJ?  Imagine my surprise!  Do you think Congress has come to the conclusion yet that they are irrelevant now that the Executive Branch has gone off the reservation with czars by the dozens, and federal agencies calling the shots?

I know y’all will be alot happier when we see perp walks with handcuffs coming out of the White House, but I’m not betting that will be happening anytime soon.

From The Hill

Exasperated members see obstruction at DoJ

Bipartisan criticism of the Justice Department is soaring on Capitol Hill as the executive branch has repeatedly balked at answering congressional requests for information, according to lawmakers and aides.

According to documents obtained by The Hill and more than a dozen interviews with Democratic and Republican members and staffers, the Department of Justice (DoJ) is rebuffing Congress and its investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In a statement to The Hill, a spokeswoman for the DoJ said that the department makes every effort to respond to lawmakers in a timely and thorough manner.
We regularly provide briefings on topics upon request as well as send written replies to members of Congress based on individual inquiries.”

Congressional Democrats privately acknowledge that DoJ has not been as forthright as they would like, and letters signed by Capitol Hill Democrats to the department indicate their frustration.

However, House and Senate Democrats say they are close to receiving data they sought months ago on various topics, expressing hope that DoJ will work more cooperatively with them.

But Republican claims of DoJ’s “stonewalling” have them questioning whether Attorney General Eric Holder is living up to the pledge of responsiveness and transparency he made during his Senate confirmation hearing nearly 18 months ago.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has expressed concern that since 2009, the DoJ has refused to hand over information to the GAO on personnel vacancy trends within the FBI’s counterterrorism division.

At a standstill, the GAO, acting on a bipartisan request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Grassley, wrote to the DoJ three weeks ago in an attempt to resolve the issue.

In the letter, the GAO referred to the DoJ’s continuous denial of information as “a systemic problem.” The DoJ, citing legal statutes, refused to deliver the data.

(more…)

Obama’s Gestapo Has Arrived

Obama’s Gestapo Has Arrived

We don’t trust Obama, this administration, DHS, or Congress to do their jobs.  An expected event has now arrived.

From Reuters:

Obama starts deploying interrogation teams

(Reuters) – The Obama administration has started using special law enforcement and intelligence teams to interrogate suspected militants in the United States and abroad, including the Pakistani-American arrested in the Times Square bombing plot, a top official said on Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the formation of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) in August and gave the reins to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing the Central Intelligence Agency that did have the lead role in intelligence interrogations.

The program calls for the deployment of Mobile Interrogation Teams, made up of specialists from across the law enforcement and intelligence community, to question important detainees, whether they are in U.S. custody or in the custody of a foreign government.

“There have been a number of deployments of these Mobile Interrogation Teams to include for the Faisal Shahzad case,” said John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.

Shahzad, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, is charged with trying to set off a crude car bomb in New York’s crowded Times Square on May 1. Prosecutors say he has provided valuable intelligence to investigators, who believe he was helped by the Pakistani Taliban movement.

Brennan declined to say whether the mobile teams have also been used in interrogations of the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was captured in the Pakistani city of Karachi in January in a joint operation by the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.

Baradar is in Pakistan’s custody.

The HIG is the product of executive orders issued by President Barack Obama shortly after he took office in January 2009. The orders banned harsh interrogation methods put in place by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and moved to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba along with secret CIA detention facilities.

Republicans in Congress have sharply criticized the Obama administration’s decision to send suspected militants to criminal courts rather than military tribunals, arguing that important intelligence is lost by cutting short interrogations.

‘OPTIMIZE INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION’

Officials said the CIA plays a major part in the HIG’s activities.

In the United States, the CIA generally provides “subject matter experts with deep knowledge of the individual detainee” or of “the terrorist network in which he operates — its leaders, its methods, the countries from which he comes or in which he operates.”

Overseas, the CIA’s main role is to gain access to the detainee for questioning.

While there is no legal prohibition against CIA personnel participating in questioning a detainee in the United States, an administration official said “our practice so far and historically has been to leave the questioning to the FBI interrogators and for the CIA to provide subject matter experts outside the room, if you will.”

“The purpose … is to ensure that we optimize intelligence collection,” an Obama administration official said.

Obama To Hold Eric’s Hand On Trial Location

Obama To Hold Eric’s Hand On Trial Location

Delegation only works when the people you place in positions of authority have a freakin’ clue how to do their jobs.  Bambi has egg on his face now because of Eric’s ludicrous decision to have the terrorist trials near Ground Zero in New York.  He has to step in and hold Eric’s hand.  There is nothing more pressing occuring right now than his political standing?

Obama will help select location of Khalid Sheik Mohammed terrorism trial

President Obama is planning to insert himself into the debate about where to try the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, three administration officials said Thursday, signaling a recognition that the administration had mishandled the process and triggered a political backlash.

Obama initially had asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to choose the site of the trial in an effort to maintain an independent Justice Department. But the White House has been taken aback by the intense criticism from political opponents and local officials of Holder’s decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian courtroom in New York.

Administration officials acknowledge that Holder and Obama advisers were unable to build political support for the trial. And Holder, in an interview Thursday, left open the possibility that Mohammed’s trial could be switched to a military commission, although he said that is not his personal and legal preference.

Your (very expensive and bloated) federal government at work, being led by a jester and his court.  Given Obama’s track record and decision making abilities, I am totally qualified to be president.  I have actually read and understand the Constitution enough to follow it, and I don’t do this:

Another Case Of “Don’t Like Outcome? Change The Rules”

Another Case Of “Don’t Like Outcome? Change The Rules”

This would be entertaining to watch if it was not so apparent how dangerous Team O’s ideology is.  Let us not fall to the same arrogance and hubris that the current administration suffers from.

Justice Department to appeal dismissal of Blackwater indictment, Biden says

BAGHDAD — The Justice Department will appeal the dismissal of an indictment against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of fatally shooting 14 Iraqis in September 2007, Vice President Biden told Iraqi officials Saturday.

“While we fully respect the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system, we were disappointed by the judge’s decision to dismiss the indictment,” Biden said after meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Legal experts say getting U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina’s ruling overturned is a long shot because his 90-page opinion clearly detailed errors made by investigators and prosecutors who worked on the case.

Under the law, the appellate court would have to find that Urbina’s findings were “clearly erroneous” to reinstate the indictment — a turn of events considered unlikely.

“By announcing this decision in Iraq, through an elected official, the United States makes clear that it has decided to do what is politically expedient, rather than what is just based on Judge Urbina’s unshakeable findings of prosecutorial misconduct and egregious violations,” Steven McCool, an attorney for Donald Ball, one of the guards, said in a statement.

Andrew Breitbart Challenges AG Holder On ACORN Investigation (Updated)

The ACORN brothel scandal is fading since we are dealing with healthcare bills, climate bills, the global climate change treaty, the falling dollar, and a pResident that is running around Asia and continuing to embarrass us.  Meanwhile, ACORN is suing the government for our money and Obama’s AG hasn’t lifted a finger to investigate ACORN even though he has more than ample reason to do so.

Andrew Breitbart is now challenging Holder to start an investigation of ACORN or wait until the next election cycle and watch as Breitbart releases the rest of the tapes and other information he has.

Early this evening on Big Government, this post showed up:

Breitbart to AG Holder: Investigate ACORN or We’ll Release More Tapes Just Before 2010 Election

Earlier tonight Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles discussed the final chapter of the ACORN L.A. saga on “Hannity,” but more interestingly, Breitbart disclosed where the story goes from here.  Transcript (below) starts from 3:50 into the clip:

Breitbart: There’s a lot of hypocrisy and the dust has settled for ACORN and at the end of the day they’ve recognized that Eric Holder, the Attorney General, has not initiated an investigation into ACORN after we now have seven tapes. There were five initially that came out, ACORN was defunded by the Senate, was defunded by the House, lost it’s link to the Census; while all that damage occurred, Congress didn’t come in to investigate them, obviously not the Attorney General’s office, and they’ve now realized let’s get back into business because they realized that the dust settled and they were not being investigated, it was Hannah, James, and me who were being investigated, that’s why we’ve been forced to offer this latest tape.

Hannity: Are you saying, Andrew, that there are more tapes?

Breitbart: Oh my goodness there are! Not only are there more tapes, it’s not just ACORN. And this message is to Attorney General Holder: I want you to know that we have more tapes, it’s not just ACORN, and we’re going to hold out until the next election cycle, or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have, we will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear that this is a dangerous organization. So if you get into an investigation, we will give you the tapes; if you don’t give us the tapes, we will revisit these tapes come election time.

Hannity: This is a blockbuster, what you’re saying here. You guys have more tapes, you’ll release them before the election, that could have a big impact on the election, obviously…

UPDATE: 11.20.09:

This may be the reason why AG Holder has not gone after ACORN because it would lead back to the DOJ.

Your Move Mr. Holder: ACORN Received $200,000 From Justice Department

ACORN and its affiliates received $200,000 in Justice Department grants between 2002 and 2009, according a report issued today by the department’s Inspector General.

No DOJ grants went directly to ACORN, but a handful of grants were awarded either to ACORN affiliates or to other organizations that sub-contracted with ACORN.

The report, requested by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), also found a few instances of ACORN mismanagement of federally contracted work.

For example, ACORN received a $20,000 sub-contract to do community outreach on crime prevention in New York. The organization that contracted with ACORN has not released the funds yet, claimimg that ACORN submitted reimbursements “outside the scope of the agreement,” including “fringe benefits” for the salaried staffer working on the project.

In another instance the city of Phoenix contracted with the “ACORN Institute” to receive about $9,000 to canvass citizens and raise awareness about a tax credit and a tax assistance program. The city hasn’t paid ACORN yet due to “poor reporting by the ACORN Institute regarding another project not related to DOJ grant funds.” Phoenix is trying to terminate the contract with ACORN.

The DOJ did not audit the funds that went to ACORN or its affiliates, but did conduct an audit of one of the organizations that contracted with an ACORN affiliate. That audit concluded that the organization “did not properly manage the grant and did not adequately monitor some of its 36 sub-grantees, including the [American Institute of Social Justice],” an ACORN affiliate.

Smith seized on the report to call for a broader review of ACORN activities.

“Given the willingness of some ACORN employees to ignore the law, it comes as no surprise that the IG’s report found several instances in which ACORN and its affiliates failed to adhere to proper procedures,” Smith said in a statement.

Read the whole thing here.

Stop Making The Distinction!

There is Eric Holder (Americans are cowardly racists):

…and then there is Morgan Freeman:

Eric Holder is an EXACT SYMPTOM of the problem.

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