WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a majority staff report on Thursday detailing the payments made as a result of the Justice Department’s housing settlements.
The report, “The Justice Department’s Housing Settlements: Millions of Consumer Relief Funds Disbursed with No Guarantees of Helping Homeowners,” focuses on the Obama administration’s claims against large financial institutions relating to the financial crash of 2008. The report analyzes the disbursement of billions of dollars of settlement funds, including funds set aside for consumer relief and third party payments.
Johnson’s inquiry found that the Justice Department collected more than $575 million for its own purposes through three settlements with large financial institutions. The department has the ability under federal law to collect a 3 percent fee on settlement funds related to its civil enforcement efforts in order to pay for processing debt litigation. Since the creation of this authority in 1993, however, the department’s total collections — and, correspondingly, the 3 percent payments to the department — have grown over time. To date, the department has retained a total of $575.7 million from the housing settlements with JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup — a remarkable sum considering that the agency collected only $158.3 million in 3 percent payments as recently as fiscal year 2013.
The report can be found here.