The Justice Department has proposed a $29.2 billion budget for the upcoming year, marking a 5 percent increase over last year's total as the department looks to ramp up national security, civil rights and anti-fraud initiatives and respond to growing demands for prisons.
Incoming Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, who presented the budget today with several Justice officials, said the protection of national security remains the department's top priority.
DOJ has proposed a $300.6 million increase in national security and counter-terrorism funding. The total funding request for the National Security Division itself is nearly $100 million, which includes money for an additional 11 attorneys.
“We are fully committed to using every tool at our disposal to defeat terrorists, disrupt potential plots and keep the American people safe,” Grindler said in a statement. The request includes funding for 126 federal agents and 15 attorneys.
The budget request includes $73 million for the transfer, detention and prosecution of the five Sept. 11 suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the terror attacks. “Our federal courts have a long history of safely and securely handling international terrorism cases,” Grindler said in a statement today.
The department’s plan to try the alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has drawn criticism recently, and DOJ officials are considering other venues. Still, Grindler said today that federal district court in Manhattan remains on the table. There has been no final decision to relocate the trial, he said.
On the financial fraud front, the Justice Department is proposing a nearly $235 million increase over last year’s allotment—with the additional money going to, among other things, funding for 157 more attorneys in various divisions and U.S. attorney offices. The department wants an additional 88 assistant U.S. attorneys to to combat white collar crime.
Justice officials said the additional funding would contribute to the investigation and prosecution of fraud on a number of fronts—including the mortgage, health care and securities arenas. The department wants to add three attorneys in the Criminal Division to focus on financial fraud, including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Justice Department officials said the budget request would fund 99 new positions—including 43 attorneys—in the Civil Rights Division. Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli said the request reflects a “renewed commitment” to the division. Perrelli said department attorneys will pay specific attention to housing and lending discrimination and, among other areas, hate crimes.