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Issue Analysis

FreedomWorks Foundation Releases Updated Version of From High Seas to Highway Robbery

In July 2015, FreedomWorks Foundation published an issue brief, From High Seas to Highway Robbery: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Became One of the Worst Forms of Government Overreach, which documented the history of civil asset forfeiture and how it came to be used so frequently. In the more than four years since the publication of this issue brief, several states have passed reforms to protect innocent individuals from civil asset forfeiture. There has also been a case at the Supreme Court that touches on the issue.

11/11/2019
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Blog

Support the DUE PROCESS Act, H.R. 2835

On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures (DUE PROCESS) Act, H.R. 2835. Introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the DUE PROCESS Act would reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws to, among other substantive reforms, increase the evidentiary standard, shift the burden of proof to the government, and provide counsel to those unable to afford legal representation.

06/19/2019
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Blog

Congress Reins in IRS Abuse of Federal Forfeiture Laws

Last week, the Senate very quietly passed the Taxpayer First Act, H.R. 3151. The bill, which now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature, seeks to improve customer service and better assist taxpayer appeals. The bill included other provisions, however, that seek to rein in the Internal Revenue Services abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws.

06/17/2019
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Blog

Support the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, H.R. 1895

On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, H.R. 1895. Introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the FAIR Act would reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws to increase the evidentiary standard needed to subject property to permanent seizure and restore the presumption of innocence in federal civil forfeiture proceedings.

03/27/2019
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Blog

A Small Victory Against Civil Asset Forfeiture at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court issued an opinion on Wednesday that is a shot across the bow of defenders of civil asset forfeiture. In a unanimous judgment, the justices incorporated the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the states. The Court didn’t rule on the dubious constitutionality of civil asset forfeiture, leaving that issue for another day.

02/20/2019
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Blog

A Last Shot at Reining in IRS Abuse of Asset Forfeiture in the 115th Congress

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a long, well-documented history of abusing federal forfeiture laws. They seize assets from innocent Americans on the mere suspicion of malfeasance. If the IRS believes a citizen is structuring deposits to avoid reporting requirements, the agency can seize your money. Administrative reforms were made in 2015 to roll back some abuses, but there is still much work to be done.

12/04/2018
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Blog

Supreme Court Likely to Deliver a Long Overdue Blow to Civil Asset Forfeiture

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Timbs v. Indiana. The case centers around the use of civil asset forfeiture and whether or not to incorporate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the states. Although the Court won’t decide the case until next year, the oral arguments show that most of the justices appear ready to deal a long overdue blow to civil asset forfeiture.

11/30/2018
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Blog

Ways and Means Republicans Demand Answers from DOJ on Refusal to Return Wrongfully Seized Money

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee want to know why the Department of Justice (DOJ) has denied petitions by Americans whose money was seized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The seized money was subject to federal civil asset forfeiture hearings in which the individual from whom the money was taken had to prove that it wasn’t connected to any wrongdoing.

07/23/2018
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Blog

Omnibus Doesn’t Include Prohibition on DOJ’s Property Grab

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 1625, is packed full of legislative priorities for leadership and other items to get enough votes for passage. Most of what was negotiated and slipped into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, known as the “omnibus,” behind closed doors is bad for taxpayers or just bad policy. Unfortunately, amendments that were previously passed by the House to prevent the Department of Justice from ramping up its use of civil asset forfeiture were not included in the bill.

03/22/2018
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Blog

Appropriations Bill Could Defund the Justice Department's Effort to Take Property Without Due Process

The House of Representatives will consider the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, H.R. 3354. The bill consolidates the eight remaining appropriations measures for FY 2018, including Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD). The House has already passed one consolidated appropriations bill, H.R. 3219, which authorized spending for the Department of Defense, the legislative branch, the military and veterans affairs, and energy and water.

08/29/2017

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