DOJ’s Rosenstein Announces New Policy to Prevent ‘Piling On’

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today announced a new Justice Department policy that encourages DOJ units and other law enforcement agencies to coordinate when imposing multiple penalties for the same conduct. “It is important for us to be aggressive in pursuing wrongdoers,” he said at an event in New York. “But we should discourage disproportionate enforcement of laws by multiple authorities.” In particular, he cited concerns about “piling on” with “unfair duplicative penalties.”

This policy is of particular relevance to regulated industries in which “a company may be accountable to multiple regulatory bodies,” Rosenstein explained. “That creates a risk of repeated punishments that may exceed what is necessary to rectify the harm and deter future violations.”

The new policy affirms that federal criminal enforcement authority should not be used against a company for purposes unrelated to the investigation of a possible crime. “We should not employ the threat of criminal prosecution solely to persuade a company to pay a larger settlement in a civil case,” he said. It also directs DOJ departments to coordinate with each other and encourages DOJ attorneys to coordinate with other federal, state, overseas and local agencies when seeking to resolve a case addressing the same misconduct. Read the speech.