Lawmakers question Holder on bank settlement proceeds

House Republicans are raising new questions about how outgoing Attorney General
 Eric HolderEric H. HolderUber donates M to supporting minorities in tech Overnight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Uber leadership sticking by CEO MORE reached financial settlements with two big banks, suggesting the proceeds are being directed to “politically favored” groups.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteMoving Copyright Office authorities to executive branch could improve accountability Register of copyrights should be presidential appointee Week ahead: Senate takes aim at Obama-era 'blacklisting' rule MORE (R-Va.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) sent a letter to Holder on Tuesday, requesting information about the recent Department of Justice settlements with Bank of America and Citigroup.

"It seems that the alleged victims are not the primary beneficiaries of these multi-billion dollar settlements," Goodlatte and Hensarling wrote.

"Instead, the terms in the Justice Department’s two latest settlements look less like consumer relief and more like a scheme to funnel money to politically favored special interest groups."

DOJ officials in July reached a $7 billion mortgage-lending settlement with Citigroup over the firm’s alleged role in the events that preceded the national housing collapse of the late 2000s.

About a month later, Justice officials reached an estimated $16 billion settlement with Bank of America.

The terms of both settlements include requirements that banks make millions of dollars' worth of donations to housing and activist groups.

Goodlatte and Hensarling call the conditions "unprecedented" and say they are
 concerned the banks will make donations to liberal groups as opposed to giving consumers relief.

"The settlements appear to serve as a vehicle for funding activist groups rather than as a means of securing relief for consumers actually harmed," they wrote in the letter.

The lawmakers are asking for more information in a response letter by Dec. 9.