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As one of our more than 6.7 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and senators today and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act. Introduced by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the FAIR Act is a worthy check on the corrupt use of civil asset forfeiture – an important defense again unlawful search and seizure.
State and federal law enforcement agencies have been jointly complicit in a procedure known as civil asset forfeiture, in which the agencies confiscate the property of individuals suspected of (but not necessarily charged with) a crime. The property is then sold off, and the proceeds split between the federal and state governments. Worse, states often invoke federal law in these cases, in order to bypass state laws and regulations that protect confiscated property.
The FAIR Act addresses this egregious abuse of property rights and due process by requiring that the government produce clear and compelling evidence before assets may be considered “forfeited”. It also requires the government to demonstrate that the property seized was instrumental in the commission of a crime, and requires hearings after 14 days to establish probable cause, or else return the asset in question. Finally, the Act reduces the incentive for the federal government to get involved with asset forfeiture by assigning proceeds from forfeited goods to the General Fund instead of the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund.
Altogether, the FAIR Act is a simple yet effective measure that would vastly rein in a widespread abuse of citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights. I hope that you will contact your senators and ask them to join Senator Paul and co-sponsor the FAIR Act and to support efforts to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.
Matt Kibbe President and CEO, FreedomWorks