In the News

In the News

ICYMI: Washington Post Editorial Board Calls On Congress to Pass DUE PROCESS Act

In The News
Jul 20, 2017

In today's issue of The Washington Post, the paper's editorial board calls on Congress to pass the DUE PROCESS Act, re-introduced this Congress by Congressman Darrell Issa, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and others on a bipartisan basis, to rein in civil forfeiture.

Their new editorial comes as the U.S. Department of Justice has announced it plans to ramp up civil forfeiture practices. The Washington Post writes:

"Mr. Sessions said he would instruct department officials to use an 'abundance of caution' for seizures involving vehicles and residences, where many mistakes have occurred. That’s not enough. Congress ought to consider legislation introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) with bipartisan support that would increase the government’s burden of proof before seizing assets."

For more information on the DUE PROCESS Act, click here.

The Washington Post's editorial is below.
 

Watch your wallets: Sessions just turned on the asset forfeiture spigot
By: The Editorial Board
http://wapo.st/2ueiXVZ

With a promise to use “care and professionalism,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has moved to expand a scandal-plagued program of asset forfeiture that allows law enforcement officials to seize money and goods from individuals suspected of crimes, in many cases without a criminal conviction or even a charge. While it is nice to pledge care and professionalism, aspects of this program have proved rife with abuse, and it must be reformed.

The logical foundation of asset forfeiture is recovering the proceeds of criminal activity, such as drug deals. “No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime,” Mr. Sessions declared in a speech Monday in Minneapolis to the National District Attorneys Association. Again, it is hard to argue with the principle. But in reality, as a Post investigation showed in 2014, asset forfeiture has turned out to be an opportunity for police to seize cash and valuables from drivers stopped for minor infractions, and it often can be extremely difficult for the innocent to recover their property. The bounty is often parceled out to law enforcement agencies, creating a perverse profit motive.

In 2015, the Justice Department under President Barack Obama announced curtailment of a kind of forfeiture that allowed local police to share part of their proceeds with federal authorities. This was known as “adoptive” forfeiture, under which state and local authorities would get the seizure cases processed, or “adopted,” under more permissive federal statues, rather than stricter state laws. The 2015 order all but ended adoptive forfeiture. Now, Mr. Sessions is turning the spigot back on, as a Justice Department policy announcement on Wednesday made clear.

The Post report in 2014 revealed onerous seizures from the innocent. In one case, a 40-year-old Hispanic carpenter from New Jersey was stopped on Interstate 95 in Virginia for having tinted windows. Police said he appeared nervous and consented to a search. They took $18,000 that he said was meant to buy a used car. He had to hire a lawyer to get his money back.

While asset forfeiture is justified in huge drug busts, its abuse in highway arrests and in grabbing small sums from people has gone too far. Mr. Sessions declared in his address to the Minneapolis group: “Helping you do your jobs, helping the police get better, and celebrating the noble, honorable, essential and challenging work you do will always be a top priority of mine.” Wouldn’t it be in service of these goals to curb wrongful asset forfeitures and put in place strong protections against further exploitation by police of innocent Americans?

The Justice Department is promising to implement such protections, and Mr. Sessions said he would instruct department officials to use an “abundance of caution” for seizures involving vehicles and residences, where many mistakes have occurred. That’s not enough. Congress ought to consider legislation introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) with bipartisan support that would increase the government’s burden of proof before seizing assets.

Press Release Dec 16, 2017
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released the following statement on the final tax reform bill released today by the Conference Committee to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
Press Release Dec 15, 2017
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released the following statement after agreement was reached between the federal government and the Fallbrook Public Utilities District over water use rights for... Read More
Press Release Dec 12, 2017
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) today sent a letter to members of the Conference Committee on tax reform, urging them to restore the state and local tax deduction (SALT) and deductions for the... Read More
Press Release Dec 8, 2017
VISTA, Calif. -- Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released the following statement as the devastating Lilac wildfire continues to spread through the San Diego region:  
In The News Dec 7, 2017
All of California’s House members team up to ask for fire relief funds San Francisco Chronicle | December 1, 2017