States Begin To Examine Civil Asset Forfeiture

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a move in Texas to abolish Civil Asset Forfeiture. I have written about this procedure in the past (here, here, and here). One of the most common examples of Civil Asset Forfeiture occurs when the government accuses a small business owner of making multiple deposits of less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal regulations that track such deposits. The law has been used to take assets away from small business owners with little regard for their Constitutional rights. The assets seized can be sold and the money used to shore up local budgets. Needless to say, there is a lot of temptation there for some local governments. A few states have taken action to limit these forfeitures. Texas is now joining them.

The article reports:

Texas is looking to become the third state in the last year to abolish civil asset forfeiture, and replace it with criminal asset forfeiture. State Senator Konni Burton filed a bill last month which requires a felony conviction before law enforcement can gobble up someone’s property. It’s a major step in Texas’ fight for justice reform which has saved the state $3B (while crime rates are at record lows).

…There’s just one problem…the asset forfeiture laws are being misapplied in cases where people who are not convicted of crimes, end up losing their property because prosecutors and police believe they “may have” been involved in/had knowledge of a crime. A Philadelphia family was forced out of their home because their son was arrested on drug charges, even though it didn’t appear they knew what the 22-year-old was doing. A Texas man had over 53-thousand dollars in cash donations for an orphanage and school seized after he was pulled over in Oklahoma.

The home and money were eventually returned to their rightful owners after the cases got a ton of press. But Right on Crime Deputy Director Derek Cohen points out media attention doesn’t always happen, because the numbers aren’t really sexy (emphasis mine).

Ordinary citizens trying to run a business and live their lives should not have to worry about a government that almost arbitrarily can take their assets. It is good to see Texas moving in the right direction. Hopefully now the federal government will follow suit.

 

Does Anyone Else Think This Is Upside Down?

My Way News posted an article today about the hacking into the cheating website Ashley Madison. The list of clients includes some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress, and law enforcement agencies who used Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay membership fees to the website. The obvious concern is that the information could be used to blackmail people in sensitive positions.

The article reports:

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.

…The AP is not naming the government subscribers it found because they are not elected officials or accused of a crime.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed the Pentagon was looking into the list of people who used military email addresses. Adultery can be a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So let me get this straight–a high level security officer probably won’t face any consequences for his stupidity, but an army private who was using the site will be investigated. Ask yourself, which is the greater risk to the country? Either go after everyone or leave everyone alone. Remember when President Clinton was doing whatever in the White House, we were told that it was a private matter. He was, at the time, Commander in Chief. The same rules that apply to the Chief should apply to the Indians.

One Answer To Federal Government Overreach

According to the IJReview, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill last Wednesday that had only two provisions.

The article lists the provisions:

  1. Prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with a policy directive issued by the U.S. DOJ to law enforcement agencies in this state that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the President of the U.S. that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.

Simply stated, unless Congress passes the law, Arizona is not going to follow it. That is the way our government is supposed to work. Thank you, Arizona.

 

It Would Be Interesting To Know If She Was Working For Herself Or Someone Else

On Friday, the Dallas Morning News posted an article about Sherin Thawer, 45, an Irving, Texas, immigration lawyer, who was arrested on federal fraud charges for allegedly forging visa applications for illegal immigrants she represented.

The article reports:

The seven-count indictment, issued earlier this week and unsealed on Friday, charges Thawer with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with immigration documents; one count of mail fraud; one count of transfer or use of the means of identification of another person; and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

Thawer represented immigrants who were applying for various visas to enter or remain in the U.S., officials said. That included U Nonimmigrant Status, known as a U-Visa.

To qualify for a U-Visa, an immigrant must have been a victim of a certain crime and helped law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution. Applicants must submit a form completed by the law enforcement agency that worked on the case.

From around March 2012 to September 2014, Thawer submitted forged law enforcement certification forms to get U-Visas for the immigrants she represented, authorities said.

What in the world was this woman thinking? When she was admitted to the bar, there were certain standards that she was expected to uphold. It is really sad that she chose to violate the law instead of enforce it.

All Accounts Have Not Been Settled

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line about one aspect of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal that has not gotten as much publicity as some other aspects of the scandal.

The article reports:

The Obama Administration’s IRS scandal is multi-faceted. In addition to the persecution of conservative non-profits by Lois Lerner et al., the question has been percolating for some years whether Obama’s IRS has transferred confidential taxpayer information to Obama’s White House in violation of federal criminal laws. The issue first arose when Austin Goolsbee of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers told reporters that he had information about Koch Industries that could only have come, illegally, from confidential IRS files. When questions were asked, the administration immediately clammed up.

Years later, the judicial system may be poised to expose another layer of Obama corruption. A group called Cause of Action began a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury, and for several years, your taxpayer dollars have funded the administration’s cover-up.

The cover-up is beginning to unravel. A federal court in Washington, D.C. has ordered the Treasury Department to respond to Cause of Action’s request for documents.

The article further reports:

The Treasury Department’s lawyers wrote Cause of Action’s counsel an email that reads in part:

My client wants to know if you would consent to a motion pushing back (in part) TIGTA’s response date by two weeks to December 15, 2014. The agency has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings. We would therefore like to ask the court to permit the agency to issue a response (including production) on December 1 as to any documents it has completed processing by that date, and do the same as to the remaining documents by December 15.

I suspect a good part o the time the government has requested will be spent attempting to scrub the documents of anything incriminating, but even at that, it is a pretty safe bet that some very damaging information will be revealed.

The story concludes:

This particular story is farce, not tragedy. It will wend its absurd way through the court system for years to come, probably arriving at no conclusion until the scofflaw Obama administration is safely out of office. In the meantime, federal criminal laws governing the privacy of IRS data, like the criminal laws generally, are a source of hilarity among Democrats. Democrat cronies sip Scotch and light cigars–I hope not with $100 bills–laughing at the rest of us who work to pay the taxes that support them in the luxury to which they have happily become accustomed. I have always thought that the term “ruling class” was ridiculous as applied to the United States, but the Obama administration is causing me to re-think that view.

How many members of the Nixon administration ultimately went to jail? I think no more than five or ten. The Obama administration has violated criminal statutes with an abandon that Nixon and his minions never dreamed of. An accounting remains; I think there are a considerable number of Obama minions and cronies who should be behind bars.

If the Department of Justice ever returns to being a Department of Justice, I believe much what has happened to the IRS and the Justice Department under President Obama will be undone. If the damage is not undone, we will be in danger of losing our representative republic.