U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says her Department of Justice aims above all to fight against fraud and corruption.
In remarks given in Rome, Italy Thursday to law enforcement officials and leaders, Lynch said, “Fighting corruption in all of its forms is vital” to the commitment to freedom and equality.
“I have seen firsthand how corruption, at bottom, is about breaking trust,” the attorney general continued, adding:
It is about undermining citizens’ belief in their elected officials. It is about betraying the people’s faith that when public monies are spent on services for citizens – from infrastructure to education – none of those funds will be misappropriated for selfish ends. And it is about poisoning the civic spirit of a people – displacing passion with cynicism, and solidarity with suspicion.
“And that is why the U.S. Department of Justice has made it a priority to root out, prosecute, and prevent corruption,” Lynch asserted, explaining that “what is at stake…is the public’s trust that one set of rules apply to all of its members, that we have ordered our markets and our governmental institutions in a fundamentally fair manner, and that our societies will uphold and respect the rule of law.”
Lynch said she is proud that the DOJ is “working tirelessly to detect corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice – no matter how powerful the actors, no matter how complex the crimes, and no matter where the crimes take place.”
The attorney general went on to praise the work of the U.S. Attorney Offices and the FBI, which, she said, “have prosecuted and convicted corrupt officials at all levels of the American government.”
Lynch touted dozens of criminal cases against individuals and corporations, and said her department’s investigations “have resulted in the collection of more than $4.4 billion in penalties.” She also boasted of lawsuits brought against companies and individuals by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We expect businesses and organizations – and anyone acting on behalf of these entities – to play by the rules, whether they act overseas or in the United States,” Lynch said. “In our increasingly globalized world, the United States is determined not only to hold U.S. citizens and officials accountable for their crimes, but also to ensure that our financial system offers no haven to those perpetrating corruption abroad.”
“In the days ahead, we will continue the hard work of rooting out corruption,” the attorney general asserted.
However, Lynch’s remarks come just four months after she met privately with former President Bill Clinton on a private plane.
As ABC15 reported, with the scandal involving Clinton’s wife – Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – and her private email server in the midst of being investigated by Lynch’s office, and just hours prior to the release of the Benghazi report, the former president met with the current U.S. attorney general.
“I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” said Lynch about her 30-minute meeting with Clinton, according to the news report. “Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix.”
However, ABC15 reported Bill Clinton did not play golf during his most recent visit to Phoenix. Clinton reportedly met with prominent real-estate developer Jim Pederson, the former chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party and former candidate for the U.S. Senate.
“There was no discussion on any matter pending before the Department or any matter pending with any other body, there was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of State Department emails, by way of example,” Lynch said. “I would say it was current news of the day, the Brexit decision and what it would mean.”