Justice Department Tells Oil Spill Claims Czar to Loosen Purse Strings

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ATLANTA -- The Justice Department is telling the administrator of the $20 billion fund for Gulf oil spill victims that his job is not to preserve money or return it to BP, and is insisting he loosen the purse strings to help people who are still suffering from last year's disaster.

In a letter Friday to Kenneth Feinberg that was obtained by The Associated Press, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli alluded to the fact that only roughly $3.5 billion of the $20 billion fund has been spent. Any money not spent goes back to BP.

Perrelli also says that Feinberg needs to be more transparent, and he should take a second look at the emergency advance payments the fund paid to victims to determine if the process was fair.
Feinberg did not immediately return a call for comment.