The U.S. Department of Justice's budget request for 2014 seeks to add dozens of attorney positions, boosting efforts to combat cybersecurity, prosecute financial and mortgage fraud and combat international piracy of intellectual property.
The $27.6 billion request is a 3 percent increase over the budget enacted two years ago in 2012, and restores the $1.6 billion in cuts in this year's budget as part of government-wide cuts called sequestration. Released Wednesday, the budget includes additional attorneys in the Criminal Division, Civil Division and Civil Rights Division, but removes attorney positions in the Antitrust Division.
"The President's budget request reflects a strong commitment to building upon the record of progress we have established in fulfilling the Justice Department's most critical missions," Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a written statement.
Here is what the budget proposes for key divisions at DOJ:
Criminal Division: DOJ wants to add 31 attorneys to the Criminal Division. The $8.5 million increase includes nine attorneys to increase cybercrime investigations and prosecutions, 16 attorneys to prosecute significant financial crimes, and seven attorneys that will address and stop intellectual property threats more quickly. The request is new this budget year.
Civil Division: DOJ wants to add 32 attorneys to the Civil Division to combat the financial and mortgage fraud that "goes to the very heart of the recent financial crisis." The additional $7 million for attorneys will "add muscle" to efforts "to recover billions of dollars for federal coffers each year and reduce the nation's debt." The same positions were requested last year. The DOJ also wants to add $1.6 million for an "attorney productivity initiative," which would provide more support personnel for fact discovery, exhibit preparation and other litigation actions to combat "a distinct disadvantage when opposing blue chip firms in complex cases that often involve billions of dollars in claims."
Civil Rights Division: DOJ wants to add 43 attorneys to the Civil Rights Division to strengthen enforcement efforts, especially in financial and mortgage fraud and police misconduct. Most of those positions - 25 attorneys - would focus on human trafficking, hate crimes, voting rights enforcement and enforcement of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. There would be 10 more attorneys to conduct investigations of predatory lending, pricing discrimination and lending practices in minority neighborhoods. Nine more attorneys would root out the most egregious incidents of police misconduct. All the positions were requested last year. The positions would be part of a $10.7 million increase for the division.
Office of the Solicitor General: Will remain at 22 attorneys but add $711,000 for six support personnel. The positions were requested last year.
Antitrust Division: DOJ wants to remove 10 attorney positions from the Antitrust Division that have become vacant because of budget constraints. The move would be part of $823,000 in savings.