Rep. Scott DesJarlais, M.D., voted for two bills this week that he said “break up the cozy relationship between special interests and Washington insiders.”
He said the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act "would end the practice of federal agencies settling lawsuits by D.C.
lobbying groups, paying their legal fees, and expediting federal regulations they seek, avoiding the public review process."
The bill passed the House of Representatives Wednesday night, following a vote in support of the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act on Tuesday.
Rep. Desjarlais said that bill "would end a Justice Department practice of diverting settlement money, as a result of federal prosecutions, to third-party interest groups, unrelated to legal victims. After plea agreements related to the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama Administration required banks to send hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal organizations that often campaign for Democrats.
"Banks and others could substantially reduce their obligation to the Justice Department by funding groups like National Council of La Raza. Both consent decrees and the Justice Department slush fund avoid constitutional appropriations, as well as oversight of agency functions by the public and their representatives in Congress. The Justice Department and the EPA have been funding partisan campaigns.
“Backscratching among bureaucrats, lawyers and liberal activists is what Tennesseans really dislike about the Washington establishment. These bills would help drain the swamp,” said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member."
Rep. DesJarlais praised Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Secretary Scott Pruitt, who recently "stopped so-called sue-and-settle at the agency, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who ended third-party payouts at the Justice Department."
He said, "To make sure these abuses of power never happen again, Congress must make it clear in legislation.”