DOJ Dishes Out Taxpayer Dollars
Taxpayers may have noticed that federal Department of Justice bosses seem to have trouble giving the people’s elected representatives, charged with oversight of the DOJ, the documents and information they request. The DOJ seems particularly reluctant when the information involves possible misconduct by DOJ officials. On the other hand, the DOJ appears eager to hand out millions of taxpayer dollars to just about any group that wants it.
In 2016, the DOJ’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) gave $8,379,218 to the “Consolidated Grant Program to Address Children and Youth Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Assault and Engage Men and Boys as Allies.” The “Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program” got $33,647,321. The DOJ dished a full $24,266,723 to the “Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program” and the Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Grant Program” got $29,622,711. And so on, 766 grants for a grand total of $452,866, 693.
Also in 2016, the DOJ handed out $25 million “to address sexual violence on campus.” The OVW’s Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson explains, “Schools that individualize their response to sexual, dating, and domestic violence are better able to meet the unique needs of their student populations, especially underserved groups.” Why they needed $25 million for such activities did not emerge. Recipients of the 61 grants included Northwest Arkansas Community College; Scripps College, Saint Leo University, and Columbus State University. Legal assistance recipients included Peace Over Violence, Capital District Women’s Bar Association Legal Project, and Manhattan Legal Services.
In 2015, the DOJ’s OVW handed out 27 awards totaling $8.5 million to prevent, investigate and respond to activities such as “dating violence” and “stalking on campus.” According to Bea Hanson, “we know that victims who receive comprehensive advocacy and services are more likely to achieve their goals of safety, autonomy, and healing.” Recipients included Humboldt State, the University of Texas and Bates College. Taxpayers might wonder what they are getting for the money.
Not to worry because this year the DOJ is handing out grants for “Research and Evaluation on Violence Against Women: Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking, and Teen Dating Violence.” In the meantime, taxpayers should understand why the spendthrift DOJ seemed to lag at its duly appointed tasks.