On January 30th, the Office of the Press Secretary released the Executive Order (EO) on reducing federal regulations and controlling regulatory costs. This latest EO requires that all federal agencies “cut two existing regulations for every new regulation they implement”. According to President Trump, this EO is meant to help small businesses by easing “the opening and expansion of small businesses” and the “incremental costs for the new regulations in 2017 will be zero dollars”. The EO requires “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.” There will also be “certain categories of regulations that will be exempt from this new policy, including those dealing with the military and national security”.
On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Attorney General announced the largest criminal and civil settlement ever against Volkswagen (VW) that totaled $4.3 billion. The breakdown of the settlement was $2.8 billion for the criminal penalty and $1.45 billion for a combined civil penalty for both the CBP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Volkswagen agreed to plead guilty to three felony criminal counts and pay the $2.8 billion dollar penalty. The $1.45 billion combined settlement was for EPA’s “claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars” as well as CBP’s claim for customs fraud.
CBP’s part of the $1.45 billion settlement dealt with a violation of 19 U.S.C. §1952, which “prohibits persons, by fraud, gross negligence or negligence, from entering or introducing, attempting to introduce, or aiding and abetting the entry or introduction of merchandise into the commerce of the United States, by means of statements or acts that are material and false, or by means of omissions which are material”.