December 5, 2020, 6:35

US Senate Bipartisan Group Seeks to End Funding for Civil Asset Seizure

US Senate Bipartisan Group Seeks to End Funding for Civil Asset Seizure

Six Senators from both major political parties in the United States plus one independent are lobbying colleagues to follow the US House of Representatives in blocking money requested by the Department of Justice to expand a civil asset forfeiture program, Senator Mike Lee said in a press release on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Lee and fellow senators made their pitch in a letter to Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and ranking minority member Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the release said.

“Civil asset forfeiture practices defy fundamental principles of due process that are central to our nation,” the letter said.

​The letter refers to a massive funding bill under consideration by the Senate, noting that companion legislation approved by the House of Representatives contains a unanimously adopted measure that would end all funding for the program.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has proposed expanding asset forfeiture, even in states that have outlawed the practice, by proposing that seized assets be turned over to the federal government which would return 80 percent to state and local law enforcement agencies.

Asset forfeiture perversely incentivizes local law enforcement to confiscate suspect property even where state laws forbid the practice, the latter said.

The letter was co-signed by Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Crapo; Democratic Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley, as well as Senator Angus King, an independent.


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