The House of Representatives just threw a major wrench in the Trump administration’s efforts to expand law enforcement’s power to seize cash and property from people who are under suspicion but have not been charged of a crime.
The lawmakers easily adopted an amendment via voice vote to a government-spending package that forbids the Trump administration to spend federal funds to strip government regulations on asset forfeiture. The amendment also undoes Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attempted reversal of an Obama-era policy which keeps the federal government from seizing assets from local authorities, a practice which some local police take advantage of to get around stricter state laws.
“This practice is outrageous. It supplants the authority of states to regulate their own law enforcement and it further mires the federal government in unconstitutional asset forfeitures,” Rep Justin Amash (R-MI) said during House floor debate.
A recent Justice Department inspector general report found that $4 billion worth of forfeited funds have been distributed to crime victims, and $6 billion has gone to state and local law enforcements since 2000.