HR 5499 – Agency Accountability Act of 2016

Shocker – Not!  Government has been collecting fines, fees, and penalties along with working “deals” in settlements and no one has any oversight from Congress on these funds.  They have simply been used as “someone” so decides without direct input from congress.

Take for instance one single agency and their reports released then consider how many are actually collecting these fines, fees, and so forth.  It will make you ill to consider this money HAS NOT been accounted for in the general funds for the government treasury.

DoJ in a press release for fiscal year 2015 posted the following: Justice Department Collects More Than $23 Billion in Civil and Criminal Cases in Fiscal Year 2015.  In fiscal year 2014, more than $24 Billion.  In fiscal year 2013$8 billion.

Mr. Jordan rips into Ms. Krause at GAO and Mr. Hollister at Data Coalition for not being able to provide this problem. It is past time that Congress gets on the stick and stops the hemorrhaging and lack of transparency of tax dollars.

The Oversight and Reform Committee met last week to take up this very issue called “Restoring the Power of the Purse: Legislative Options” on YouTube – https://youtu.be/ruvTPrTlsrg.

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Agency Accountability Act of 2016

Sponsored by Rep. Palmer, Gary J. [R-AL-6]  and Introduced 06/16/2016

This bill requires any agency that receives a fee, fine, penalty, or proceeds from a settlement to deposit the amount in the general fund of the Treasury. The funds may not be used unless the funding is provided in advance in an appropriations bill.

Any amounts deposited during the fiscal year in which this bill is enacted may not be obligated during the fiscal year and must be used for deficit reduction.

The bill amends the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to require offsetting receipts and collections to be treated as revenue. (Offsetting receipts and collections are funds collected by agencies from other government accounts or from the public in businesslike or market-oriented transactions. Under current law, the collections are treated as negative budget authority and outlays rather than revenue and may be used to offset spending for budget enforcement purposes.)

The requirements of the bill do not apply to the U.S. Postal Service or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the USPTO must submit annually to Congress a report describing any fee, fine, penalty, or proceeds from a settlement collected by the USPTO during the previous year.

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OVERSIGHT REPORT REVEALS $83 BILLION COLLECTED THROUGH AGENCY FINES AND PENALTIES

November 30, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a Majority staff report titled, Restoring the Power of the Purse: Shining Light on Federal Agencies Billion Dollar Fines Collections. The report surveyed 34 agencies and found they collected over $83 billion in fines and penalties between 2010 and 2015, which were used to fund operations and unappropriated programs. (remember this is NOT the executive budget)

Key Findings:

Treasury: Treasury failed to provide a complete response to the Committee. However based on an incomplete response, which did not include the fines and penalties collected by the IRS, Treasury collected through the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the Office of Foreign Assets Control at least $2.83 billion. Given Treasury’s mission and operation of the General Fund, where under law all agencies collections go unless specifically directed elsewhere, their lack of transparency and failure to response is problematic.

Lack of Standardized Accounting System: Agencies do not use a standardized method of accounting for those funds collected and retained. Not including Treasury, the average response time was 50 days. Based on the varying agency responses, the S. government’s accounting system to monitor and track the funds collected appears inadequate.

Here’s a look at the government’s biggest collectors over five years researched:

  • DoJ – $63.71 billion
  • CFTC- $4.46 billion
  • FED – $3.74 billion
  • SEC – $3.21 billion
  • Treasury – $2.83 billion
  • DOL – $1.35 billion
  • DHS – $1.26 billion

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Now you know.  Where or for what has all those fines, fees, and other collections gone?  Lynch for DoJ should be forced to explain as should the head of every agency collecting any unaccounted for funds.

Get busy pushing congressmen in both the House and Senate to get this legislation passed. That money could have gone on any number of needed things including Medicare or military.  NO agency, except those specified by Congress, has the right to withhold or use funds such as these without Congressional approval. In fact, those agencies such as DoJ who did not add their gains to the general fund should be held accountable for their actions and the funds stripped from them or from next year’s budget.  Don’t let another six months pass without pushing for this to be addressed and passed through both houses.

There have been a lot of rumors, leaks, or speculations of how Obama under the table funded Obamacare companies and how he is moving money around from other important things like Medicare to pay for his illegals.  It is time this was stopped so that NO President has the ability to circumvent Congress and its power of the purse.

Citizens at home don’t have this luxury so why should state or federal government?

–Uriel–

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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