The U.S. House unanimously passed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill on Wednesday, June 24, 2019.
Specifically, the House passed an amendment that prohibits funding for the Department of Justice that goes towards a practice known as adoptive seizures, a loophole local law enforcement use to work around state forfeiture laws.
This bipartisan amendment was sponsored by Republic Congressman Tim Walberg and Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin. This specific provision limits the federal government’s ability to seize private property without due process.
Walberg stated, “For many years, I have worked in a bipartisan way to shine a light on civil asset forfeiture abuses.” He added, “This amendment takes important steps to halt the practice of adoptive seizures, and it provides critical protections for all Americans and their right to due process under the Constitution.”
On top of this bill, both Walberg and Raskin have teamed up to introduce the Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act), which also reforms civil asset forfeiture practices.
Under the FAIR Act, the level of proof that the federal government needs to seize property is substantially increased, while the IRS structuring statue is reformed to protest innocent small business owners. Transparency and congressional oversight also come as a part of this reform package.
This is good news on the civil asset forfeiture reform front. Civil asset forfeiture is a practice used by corrupt law enforcement agencies to effectively fleece taxpayers and take private property without any respect for due process. The good news is that a recent Supreme Court decision has applied the 8th Amendment’s “excessive fines” provision to the states.
All in all, it seems that civil asset forfeiture reform is starting to become a national trend, and the feds are starting to wake up to this.