Raskin Calls on Justice Department to Release Corporate Crime Settlements Database

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) is calling on the Department of Justice to publicly release its corporate crime settlements database.

Congressman Jamie Raskin

In an August 13, 2020 letter to Attorney General William Barr, Raskin requests that the list of all corporate deferred and non prosecution agreements “entered into by every division within the Department of Justice and every United States Attorney’s Office from 2009 to the present be provided to us and made publicly available as soon as possible.”

Now, almost three months later, Raskin has yet to get the list from the Department of Justice.

“It is critical that the Department, regardless of presidential administration, be fully transparent in its dealings with powerful corporate defendants,” Raskin told Corporate Crime Reporter. “I have asked the Department for a full public accounting of all non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements entered into by the Department of Justice with corporate criminal defendants. I trust and believe that the Department is working in good faith to provide me that information and I look forward to a prompt full accounting.” 

Jon Ashley at the University of Virginia School of Law has been working for years on pulling together all such agreements for the law school’s Corporate Prosecution Registry. The registry is currently home to more than 3,500 such agreements.

But Ashley says “it seems to be something of an open secret” that there are more such agreements that are not made public and in April Ashley filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking a list of all such deferred and non prosecution agreements from 2009 to the present.

The Department of Justice has failed to respond to Ashley’s April FOIA and on September 29, Ashley filed an administrative appeal. Ashley is being represented by Jennifer Nelson of the School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic.

“We have not yet received a response to our administrative appeal and while we have a complaint ready-to-go, we are hoping that conversations with the Department of Justice will prove to be more efficient and fruitful than dragging everyone into litigation,” Ashley told Corporate Crime Reporter. “Our request is straightforward. We are looking for a handful of non-prosecution agreements already publicly disclosed by the Department of Justice and we are looking for a list of all such agreements the Department has struck in the last decade. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported the Department began tracking its use of deferred and non prosecution agreements so we anticipate pulling such a list together should not be difficult. It seems to be something of an open secret in the world of corporate law that companies and the Department of Justice are striking more non prosecution agreements than are being publicly disclosed and this request is an attempt to find the extent to which such deals take place and the actors involved.”

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