GOP at Odds with Jeff Sessions After He Expands Government Ability to Seize Assets

“This is a step in the wrong direction and I urge the Department of Justice to reconsider.” – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! What is Jeff Sessions doing? As Conservatives, we are against big government! Big government SUCKS! So why did he just expands the government’s ability to seize a suspect’s personal assets? We aren’t the only ones asking, as it could be used for abuse and a complete violation of civil rights!

He claims it is a “key tool” and that it “weakens criminal organizations and the cartel.” If that were the case, why would so many members of his own party be so upset with him?

Sessions gave a speech at the National District Attorneys Association on Monday. He said, “We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture – especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions continued, “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners.”

While I agree that a criminal should not get to keep the “proceeds of their crime,” I think that this new expansion could open many doors that aren’t only used for justice against criminals. Even Sessions’ predecessor Eric Holster claimed this is “another extremist action.”

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Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin also added, “This is a step in the wrong direction and I urge the Department of Justice to reconsider,” Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said in a statement. “Expanding forfeiture without increasing protections is, in my view, unconstitutional and wrong.”

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Fox News reports:


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he opposes “the government overstepping its boundaries by assuming a suspect’s guilt and seizing their property before they even have their day in court.”

Civil forfeiture is when police and prosecutors seize property, cars or cash from someone they suspect of wrongdoing. It differs from criminal forfeiture cases, where prosecutors typically must prove a person is guilty or reach a settlement before freezing funds or selling property.

In civil forfeiture, authorities don’t have to prove guilt, file charges or obtain a conviction before seizing private property.

Asset forfeiture is used at the state level to fund police departments. Sessions has argued it will help the DOJ go after drug offenders. But because the government doesn’t need to file criminal charges to take a person’s money or property, some warn authorities could use it to choke off, for instance, the sale of marijuana in states where it’s legal.

Sessions argues that increased civil forfeiture powers gives law enforcement officials an effective tool to go after lawbreakers. The ability to freeze funds and seize assets allows authorities to hit alleged criminals where it hurts the most – their wallets.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sponsored legislation earlier this year to regulate asset forfeiture, said Sessions’ agenda is “a troubling step backward” that would “bring back a loophole that’s become one of the most flagrantly abused provisions of this policy.”

He added, “Criminals shouldn’t be able to keep the proceeds of their crime, but innocent Americans shouldn’t lose their right to due process, or their private property rights, in order to make that happen.”

What do you think? Is this step over the line?

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