By Benjamin Weingarten
10 June 2014
There’s a little-known division of the Department of Justice that has been bilking the taxpayers of millions of dollars each year and redistributing it to its political and legal allies, creating costly and wide-reaching regulations without any congressional oversight or public comment and seeking to expropriate private land without compensation.
The name of this division? The Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).
These revelations come from a new book out today titled “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department,” authored by the National Review’s John Fund and former presidential appointee to the FEC, counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Justice Department and current Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Hans von Spakovsky.
The ENRD is the division of the DOJ that was responsible for the Gibson Guitar Corporation raid, which as some may recall nominally dealt with the legality of materials imported from Madagascar used in the fingerboards of the company’s guitars, in what appeared to be a politically motivated case. Part of the settlement that Gibson Guitar reached with the DOJ in order to continue as a going concern was to pay out $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The authors write:
“instead of making a payment to the U.S. Treasury Department for the American taxpayer, Justice in essence extorted money from Gibson Guitar to help fund the NFWF, a congressionally created private charity that hands out funds “to some of the nation’s largest environmental organizations, as well as some of the smallest,” according to its own website.
So basically, the Justice Department used its authority to engineer a settlement of government claims requiring the defendant to provide benefits to a private group that was not involved in the lawsuit and was not injured by the defendants’ actions.”