U.S Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced legislation seeking to reform U.S. civil asset forfeiture laws.
The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (H.R. 2857), or FAIR Act, would raise the level of proof necessary for the federal government to seize property. Further, it would reform the IRS structuring statute to protect innocent small business owners while increasing transparency and congressional oversight.
“Under the current system, it is too easy for the government to seize a citizen’s private property without ever charging them with a crime,” Walberg said. “We have been sounding the alarm about civil asset forfeiture abuse for years, and meaningful reforms are long overdue at the federal level. The FAIR Act brings much-needed change to the status quo. Our legislation provides critical protections for all Americans and their right to due process under the Constitution, and I thank my colleagues for their leadership on this bipartisan effort.”
Raskin, who also sponsored the bill, said it was a constitutional imperative to reform these laws.
“I thank our colleagues for joining this bipartisan effort to uphold due process rights and rein in the nation’s reckless asset forfeiture policies,” Raskin said.
The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).
“The vast majority of Americans who have their assets seized in civil forfeiture cases are never charged with a crime. As civil forfeiture has ballooned over the past three decades, minorities and low-income communities have suffered most. Reforming our broken policing system is a top priority for me, and the current civil asset forfeiture system stands out as unjust, unfair, and unacceptable. I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to reform civil asset forfeiture and reverse the perverse financial incentives that aid and abet abuse of this system,” Rush said.