The House today will start work on legislation that funds the Department of Justice in fiscal year 2015, but also docks the Department $25 million for its failure to issue timely reports to Congress on a range of issues.
“The Committee is disappointed in the delays by the Department in submission of reports required by the fiscal year 2013 and 2014 Appropriations Acts,” the House Appropriations Committee wrote in a report accompanying the bill. “In some cases, the reports are over a year overdue.”
“Such tardiness is unacceptable and reflects poorly on the Department’s ability and willingness to comply with congressional and Committee directives,” it added. “In light of this persistent problem, the Committee recommendation in this account is reduced by $25,000,000 below the request.”
The penalty is roughly a 20 percent cut to the Department’s general administration, salaries and expenses account. The bill the House will look at today funds that account at just under $104 million.
That $104 million is also more than $6 million below the level approved for fiscal year 2014.
Republicans have routinely clashed with Attorney General Eric Holder over transparency issues, and the committee report outlines several reports that Congress is still waiting for. They include reports on anti-terrorist financing programs, and how Justice designates events as terrorist attacks for prosecutorial purposes, such as the attack in Fort Hood.
The committee also said it is awaiting a Justice Department report on violent gangs that was asked for in the 2014 spending bill.
“The Department is expected to submit that report as soon as possible, to include the extent and nature of the gang problem in America, details on current anti-gang initiatives and their performance, and plans for sustained cooperation with State and local law enforcement agencies to combat and dismantle gangs that operate across jurisdictions,” members wrote.