#98 to #102

750 Administration of Justice:Reduce Funding for Five Programs in the Department of Justice

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority and were calculated by using the Fiscal Year 2014 enacted spending levels as found in Department of Justice, “Summary of Budget Authority by Appropriation,” May 26, 2014. The proposed savings equal the difference between current spending and proposed spending cuts. All spending levels were increased at the same rate as growth in discretionary spending, according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

The U.S. Department of Justice has numerous departments and programs with budgets that should be reduced. Specifically:

  1. The Civil Rights Division’s FY 2014 appropriation of $144 million should be reduced by 20 percent.
  2. The Environmental & Natural Resources Division’s FY 2014 appropriation of $107 million should be reduced by 20 percent.
  3. The Community Relations Service’s FY 2014 appropriation of $12 million should be reduced by 50 percent.
  4. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ (ATF’s) FY 2014 appropriation of $1.179 billion should be reduced by 20 percent.
  5. The Discretionary Grants Programs should have a 20 percent reduction from the FY 2014 levels of $2.096 billion.

These reductions would save $787 million in 2016, and $8.4 billion over 10 years.


Reducing funding for 5 inflated & incident-ridden DOJ programs would save $8.4 billion.

A recent report by the Justice Department Inspector General described the Civil Rights Division as a dysfunctional division torn by “polarization and mistrust.” It is a division that has waged a war on election integrity and filed abusive lawsuits intended to enforce progressive social ideology in areas ranging from public hiring to public education. Its budget should be significantly cut. For similar reasons, the budget of the Environmental & Natural Resources Division should also be cut, given its collusion in “sue and settle” lawsuits with extremist environmental groups.

The budget of the Community Relations Service (CRS) should be entirely eliminated. Rather than fulfilling its mandate of trying to be the “peacemaker” for community conflicts, the CRS has raised tensions in local communicates in recent incidents such as the Zimmerman case in Florida. The ATF’s budget should also be decreased to eliminate resources that could be used for reckless operations similar to Operation Fast & Furious. And the Discretionary Grants Programs should be significantly reduced. The Justice Department should concentrate on enforcement of federal law, not act as a budget source or substitute for state and local government or nonprofit organizations with the exception of promising, innovative state programs with measurable results in reducing crime. For similar reasons, the budget of the Office of Justice Programs should also be cut.

Reducing funding for 5 inflated & incident-ridden DOJ programs would save $8.4 billion.

Contributing Expert

Hans A. von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform -- as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

See publications by Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans A. von SpakovskyManager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

Additional Reading

  • Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, “Review of the Operations of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division,” March 2013.
  • Christian Adams, Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department (Regnery Publishing, 2011).
  • John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department (HarperCollins/Broadside, 2014).