Billions in Civil Asset Plunder

Civil asset forfeiture is an issue that smart conservatives should have highlighted in the information war a long time ago. Here is Michael Swartz writing at Patriot Post:

A new DOJ report sheds light on a very problematic police revenue source.

Our federal government has spent nearly a half-century fighting a “War on Drugs” with varying levels of success. One tactic introduced early on was the seizing of assets of those who were demonstrated to have acquired them through illegal means. Over the years, government at all levels has managed to make it even easier to secure billions of dollars of alleged profits from an illegal industry — the drug trade.

Yet while the fight against drugs has shifted over the years, from the marijuana and hallucinogens of the late 1960s, to the crack and cocaine of the 1980s, to a more recent surge in methamphetamines, the current opioid epidemic is different. It doesn’t necessarily affect the same younger, lower-class peer group as the previous drugs of choice did, nor does it have the same sort of distribution system as other narcotics. But the federal government continues to utilize asset forfeiture as a tactic, despite long-standing abuse of the process and past attempts to both document it and rein it in.

Loopholes in the current system allow for local law enforcement to partner with the federal government to assure that both get a nice piece of the action. This money has, in turn, allowed local investment in assets like drug-sniffing dogs, new police cars and equipment, and other paramilitary gear that police departments claim assists them in getting drugs off the streets. And seizure is politically popular, since people assume that only criminals are having their assets seized and therefore deserve it.

It’s no surprise, then, that yet another government review — the latest was put out this week by the Inspector General’s Office at the Department of Justice — delivers a scathing look at a practice that, by this estimate, raked in $28 billion of assets over the last 10 years. That’s a big revenue stream, and thus the real answer for why the practice continues to expand.

Read more: Patriot Post

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