How much does the federal government collect in fines?

Published on July 25th 2019

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed $575 million settlement this week with Equifax over the credit reporting company’s 2017 data breach affecting 147 million people.

The settlement includes a $100 million civil penalty to be paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The FTC is also expected to announce the terms of a $5 billion fine with Facebook later this week as well.

Penalties and fines make up a small portion of federal government revenues. The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service tracks all fines, penalties, and expenditures coming into the federal government.

The government took in $20.3 billion of such revenue in fiscal year 2018. Of that total, $9.9 billion came from fines, penalties, and forfeitures based on customs, commerce, and antitrust laws.

The 2018 revenue is 21% lower than the $25.7 billion (adjusted) the government took in in 2015.

Estimated federal government revenue from fines and penalties (adjusted to 2018 dollars)

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