Senators Eye Asset Forfeiture Reform

Media focus builds pressure to limit seizures by feds

CJ Ciaramella
The Washington Free Beacon

Several U.S. senators are considering reforms to federal civil asset forfeiture laws—which allow the government to seize citizens’ property even if they are not convicted or charged with a crime—following several high-profile investigations by news outlets.

On Sunday, the New York Times published a front-page investigation of several cases in which the IRS seized the checking accounts of small business owners, such as Carol Hinders, who runs a small Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa.

“The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes—in fact, she has not been charged with any crime,” the Times reported. “Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

The IRS said it is curtailing the practice, but the report has piqued the interest of members of Congress such as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa)…

…IRS seizures have increased from 114 in 2005 to 639 in 2012, according to data from the Institute for Justice, a non-profit law firm that has filed a lawsuit challenging the IRS’ seizure program…



The complete article is at The Washington Free Beacon.




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