Between 2010 and 2015, federal agencies collected more than $83 billion in civil, criminal, and regulatory fines and penalties, some of which they returned to the Treasury’s general fund, some of which they transferred to other agencies with authority over the matter and some of which they kept for themselves, according to a House report.
The report from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was a follow-up to one from last year by GAO which found that about 15 percent of Justice’s budget came from fines, fees, and penalties–and that since such money is not necessarily reviewed as part of the appropriations process, it may not be subject to the same scrutiny as other programs.
The committee’s survey of nearly three dozen agencies found that Justice by far collected the most in that period, nearly $64 billion, followed by CFTC at $4.5 billion, the Federal Reserve, $3.7 billion, and the SEC, Treasury, Labor and DHS.
Reasons range from violations of financial laws to tarmac delays by an airline.
Agencies “do not utilize a standard accounting for fines and penalties — regardless of if those funds are retained, transferred, or remitted,” the report said, citing the delays and a mix of formats in agency responses to identical requests.