From: The Honorable Matt Cartwright
Sent By: Mae.Stevens@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 4324
Date: 7/15/2014

Cosponsor H.R 4324 – the Truth in Settlements Act of 2014

Cosponsors (7): Cole, Enyart, Lofgren, Lummis, Meadows, Nugent, Pallone

Dear Colleague,

Federal agencies are charged with holding companies and individuals accountable when they break the law, and their investigations regularly end in settlement agreements.  All too often, the critical details of these agreements are hidden from the public.  Agencies trumpet the topline amount, while failing to disclose that the settlement includes significant tax deductions or “credits” for routine conduct that dramatically reduce the actual value of the settlement.

In fact, the Department of Justice and other entities recently settled a case with JPMorgan Chase for $13 billion. However, it appears that approximately $11 billion of the settlement amount will be tax deductible, which reduces the ultimate value of the settlement to the taxpayer by up to $4 billion[i].

Worse, many agencies can deem settlements confidential without explanation, preventing public scrutiny altogether. If enforcement agencies are confident that settlements are a good deal for the people they represent, they should be willing to publicly disclose the key terms of those agreements.

That is why the Truth in Settlements Act demands specificity and transparency in all federal agency settlements that include over $1 million in payments. This bill ensures that relevant details and terms of non-confidential settlements are publicized truthfully, and that the process by which settlements are deemed confidential is assessed and monitored.

If you are interested in becoming a cosponsor of this bill or you have any questions please contact Mae Stevens in Rep. Cartwright’s office at mae.stevens@mail.house.gov or at 202-225-5546 or Steve Waskiewicz in Rep Cole’s office at Steve.Waskiewicz@mail.house.gov or at 202-225-6165

Sincerely,

Matt Cartwright                                           Tom Cole

Member of Congress                                  Member of Congress