Smoking Gun Found in Email Probe

By Daveda Gruber:

Sometimes you need a ‘smoking gun’ to prove the crime. In this case it was found.

A ‘smoking gun’ email was obtained by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that proves the Obama Justice Department prevented settlement payouts from going to conservative-leaning organizations and that liberal groups were awarded money and DOJ officials denied “picking and choosing” recipients.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said, “It is not every day in congressional investigations that we find a smoking gun. Here, we have it.”

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The Justice Department permitted prosecutors to strike agreements compelling big companies to give money to outside groups not connected to their cases to meet settlement loads while Eric Holder was U.S. attorney general. Republican lawmakers long have criticized those payments as a “slush fund” that supported liberal groups. The Trump DOJ ended this practice earlier during this year.

Internal Justice Department emails released Tuesday by Goodlatte showed that officials were involved in determining what organizations would get the money. Justice Department officials may have succeeded to make sure the settlements didn’t go to conservative groups.

In an email in July 2014, a senior Justice Department official expressed “concerns” about what groups would receive settlement money from Citigroup. He said they didn’t want money going to a group that does “conservative property-rights legal services.”

Goodlatte said, “Aiding their political allies was only the half of it. The evidence of the Obama DOJ’s abuse of power shows that Tony West’s team went out of its way to exclude conservative groups.”

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The documents point to West playing an active role in helping certain organizations attain settlement information.

Goodlatte said, “They show that contrary to Graber’s sworn testimony, the donation provisions were structured to aid the Obama administration’s political friends and exclude conservative groups.”

Way before the release of Tuesday’s emails, Republicans had blasted these settlements as a “slush fund” for favored groups.

Two examples:

Gibson Guitars was forced to pay $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2012.

Bank of America gave money to the National Urban League and to The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and the National Council of La Raza as part of a major mortgage fraud settlement coming from the 2008 financial crisis.

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