November 30, 2017
Congress Should Protect Americans from Unjust Property Seizure – American Conservative Union, the Institute for Justice, the NAACP, and the ACLU Join in Effort
Civil asset forfeiture is wrong. Policing for profit is wrong. Taking people’s stuff away without even a conviction is wrong. And Attorney General Sessions reinstating the practice is wrong.
(From The Daily Signal)
Members of Congress brought renewed attention to a legislative effort to halt efforts by the Department of Justice to restart one of the most controversial civil forfeiture practices, so-called “adoptive” forfeitures.
The practice, part of the equitable sharing program, allows state and local law enforcement to seize property in their jurisdictions and then hand it over to federal agencies to conduct the forfeiture. In return, the original seizing agency then receives up to 80 percent of the proceeds if the forfeiture is successful.
In 2015, the Justice Department essentially halted this type of forfeiture amid growing concerns that it gave police and sheriffs a financial incentive to circumvent state laws when federal law made it easier to seize assets. Some state laws are more protective of property rights and more restrictive in how forfeiture funds can be raised and spent than federal law.
The Justice Department’s decision was hailed by reform advocates, but in July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive reinstating adoptions.
Halting this practice was one of the few things the Obama Justice Department got correct.
That move prompted pushback from lawmakers. Led by Reps. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and Justin Amash, R-Mich., a bipartisan group of House members sought to put a stop to Sessions’ actions by blocking funding for the program.
Once again Justin Amash carries the torch in the House.
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Reprinted with permission from Against Crony Capitalism.