Press Releases

Press Releases

House Approves Rep. Issa Amendment To Rein In Civil Forfeiture Abuse, Clear Nation's Rape Kit Backlog

Press Release
Sep 13, 2017

The House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) to this year’s spending package – the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act – to curb civil asset forfeiture abuse and provide additional funding to help clear the nation’s growing rape kit backlog.
 
The legislation redirects $10 million from the Department of Justice’s budget allotted for the enforcement of civil forfeiture instead to the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, which provides funding to local government to analyze unprocessed DNA evidence. Estimates indicate that as many as 400,000 sexual assault evidence kits remain untested, sitting on shelves in crime labs across America.

"Civil forfeiture remains a tremendous threat to private property rights and due process," said Congressman Darrell Issa. "My amendment helps cut down on asset forfeiture overreach by refocusing the Department of Justice's limited resources away from enabling the theft of Americans' private property and instead towards providing the resources needed to help clear our nation's growing backlog of untested sexual assault evidence. For too long, our sexual assault evidence kit backlog has been allowed to pile up, as evidence has collected dust in the backrooms of crime labs across our country. The very least we can do for victims is provide authorities with the funding they need to get these kits tested and bring their offenders to justice.”

Congressman Issa also applauded the inclusion of amendments by Representatives Walberg, Amash and Raskin which would also block the expansion of civil forfeiture practices: 

"The growth, misuse and lack of accountability in our civil forfeiture practices have undermined far too many Americans constitutional rights," Congressman Issa continued. "I'm glad to see the level of attention this important issue has received in the appropriations process and look forward to working with my colleagues to continue our efforts to protect Americans due process rights."

Congressman Issa has been a vocal critic of civil forfeiture abuse, calling out Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his new policy aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property. He is an original co-sponsor of the DUE PROCESS Act which would increase the burden of proof required in forfeiture proceedings at the federal level. Additionally, he was an important co-sponsor of the sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights Act which was signed into law last year. 

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