Third-Party Payments in Government Litigation Settlements
In June of 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo prohibiting the Department of Justice from directing settlement payments to non-governmental third parties that are “neither victims nor parties to the lawsuits” when the Department is engaged in litigation. The memo halted a practice that was utilized by the Bush and Obama administrations and now may make a return under the Biden administration.
Some view these third-party payments in government litigation settlements as an unconstitutional encroachment on Congress’s spending power that should remain proscribed, but some see them as a legitimate measure to advance policy goals, particularly when it comes to environmental enforcement.
On April 14, the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project and Practice Groups hosted a webinar featuring experts on both sides of the issue discussing the practice and whether it will – and should – be utilized once again by the new administration.
As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General
Office of Legal Policy, United States Department of Justice
Global Co-Lead, Environmental Team
Sidley Austin LLP
Attorney and Legal Commentator
Luther Strange and Associates
Federalist Society’s Practice Groups