Washington, D.C. –Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced legislation to cut $50 million from the Department of Justice (DOJ) General Administration account, which funds the Attorney General’s personal office. The legislation is part of a series of actions Chairman Nadler announced earlier this week to counter Attorney General William Barr’s continued defiance of Congress and improper politicization of the DOJ.
“If Attorney General Barr insists on undermining the integrity of the Department of Justice, then Congress has no choice but to intervene,” said Chairman Nadler.“The legislation I’ve introduced will slash the budget of Mr. Barr’s personal office and the Office of Legislative Affairs—both of which have demonstrated an unacceptable disregard for Congressional oversight. This cut does not impact any law enforcement function at the Department while sending a clear message to Mr. Barr that his actions will not be tolerated.
“The American people deserve answers from Mr. Barr about actions the Department has taken to harass states during the coronavirus epidemic, his improper interference in cases against President Trump’s political allies, and much more. Because the Attorney General refuses to appear before Congress to provide those answers, we must now use our budgeting authority to compel answers and to reign in his deplorable behavior.”
Text of the legislation is available here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Why is this bill necessary?
Attorney General Barr is supposed to administer a fair and impartial federal justice system. Instead, he has become President Trump’s primary “fixer.” The Attorney General has politicized the Department. He is working to erase the findings of the Mueller investigation, no matter how awful the crimes. He continues to harass state and local officials trying to manage the response to the coronavirus epidemic. He is reported to have given the order to fire tear gas on peaceful protestors assembled outside of the White House—all so the President could pose for a photograph.
The American people deserve answers from Bill Barr for his role in some of the worst abuses of the Trump Administration.
Because the Attorney General refuses to appear before Congress to provide those answers, given his history of defying congressional subpoenas, Congress must now use its budgeting authority to compel answers, to reign in bad behavior, and to protect the Department from its corrupt political leadership.
What gets cut from DOJ’s budget, exactly?
This proposal would rescind $50 million from the General Administration account for salaries and expenses. This budget line includes salaries for much of the political leadership of the Department, administrative support for the Attorney General, and operating expenses for an Office of Legislative Affairs that seems intent on ignoring Congress. The General Administration account also funds efforts by the Attorney General to provide policy guidance across the Department of Justice—guidance we would be better off without in the Trump era.
Does the bill harm law enforcement agencies in any way?
No. The bill targets Attorney General Barr and his principal enablers, but cuts no funding to law enforcement personnel. The bill also preserves funding for the Office of Violence Against Women, the Bureau of Prisons, the FBI, federal prosecutors, and Byrne-JAG funding for state and local law enforcement. Anybody who says this bill makes Americans less safe probably hasn’t read the bill.
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