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Op-ed Placement

Before Year's End, the Pa. House Needs to Pass Civil Forfeiture Reform

Originally Published in Penn Live on 10/20/16.

This op-ed was jointly authored by Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks, Timothy Head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

Civil asset forfeiture reform is on the minds of legislators in Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Senate recently voted to pass much-needed reforms to improve property rights across the state.

The bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee and time is running out for action with the legislative session ending in late November,

Civil asset forfeiture is the now-infamous practice in which the government takes a person's property without actually charging them with a crime.

Countless Americans have fallen victim to overzealous agents taking their possessions because they are suspected of committing a crime, but the current system in most states does not entitle citizens to a hearing with the rights and protections they would receive if they had been charged with an actual crime.

The property is then kept by the agency that made the confiscation in a system that clearly favors the government and not citizens.

The money is very good in the forfeiture business – if you happen to work for the government. So good, in fact, that it becomes easy to lose track of it.

A current case in point involves now-disgraced Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who only recently admitted to seizing $1.77 million in cash using civil asset forfeiture laws.

As questions grew louder, the circumstances involving the cash – that had been sitting in boxes in her office for nearly two years – came to light.

They were less than ideal.