Conservative Consensus(tm)


Events * Analysis * Commentary * Forecasts * Readers' Opinions


Security Column * V3X24 * 22/Jul/97 * ISSN 1074-245X


HR1965 --- a new asset-forfeiture bill --- has passed out of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and may be headed on the fast track through Congress. We have examined the bill, and it is a nasty piece of work. If you are in business, it allows the federal government to seize your inventory and assets on the flimsiest of evidence. Even if the original warrant is struck down by a court, the government would be given addition time for "discovery" to examine business records and build a case to continue holding the assets!

This bill masquerades under the guise of providing "a more just and uniform procedure for Federal civil forfeitures, and other purposes." As with the IRS, it puts the burden of proof on the defendant, puts the burden of establishing what constitutes "excessive fines (8th Amendment) on the defendant, provides for seizure without a warrant by the Attorney General, Treasury (BATF), and Postal Service under a variety of conditions. It allows seized assets to go to crime victims --- and regulatory agencies. And it allows seizures by the Food and Drug Administration for violations of regulatory bureaucracy! Since agencies like the FDA write their own rules, almost anything you can think of can become a "violation of regulatory" standards.

We suggest that you let others know about this --- and your elected representatives --- while there is still time. The bill runs about 25 pages and may be obtained from the congressional website.


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