Reps. Raskin, Walberg introduce bill to reform civil forfeiture laws

U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduced legislation this week to reform the nation’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

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Their bill, the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act), raises the level of proof necessary for the federal government to seize property, reforms the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statute to protect small business owners, and increases transparency and congressional oversight.

“The lawless seizure and ‘forfeiture’ of people’s private property by police officers is becoming standard operating procedure in many parts of the country,” Raskin said. “We want to restore the presumption of innocence, fair judicial process, and the opportunity to be heard. I’m proud to introduce this important bipartisan legislation with my friend Rep. Walberg to rein in civil asset forfeiture and restore due process rights.”

The bill is cosponosred by Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Joe Neguse (D-CO).

“It’s been far too easy for the government to seize a private citizen’s property, in some cases even without criminal charges being brought,” Walberg said. “The FAIR Act brings important reforms to limit government overreach and restores constitutional rights. Across the political spectrum, the FAIR Act has garnered support, and I look forward to my continued work with Congressman Raskin as we fight to get this critical legislation signed into law.”

Cardenas said seizing property and handing it over to the government without proof of wrongdoing is fun-American.

“In the United States, we are innocent until proven guilty, and the government may not seize our property without just cause. It’s past time to reform our civil asset forfeiture system and make it fairer for the American people,” Cardenas said.