Yes, I am so totally assigning credit to the Republicans in Congress for this one. To recap the situation: civil asset forfeiture is when state and local cops seize stuff deemed to be part of a criminal case and then use it to eke out their own budgets. The situation is ripe for abuse, particularly since the rules used to allow cops to make a federal case out of it (state laws are much stricter on what’s a legitimate asset seizure than the federal laws are). But the Justice Department has stopped up the loophole that state and local cops were exploiting. Why? Because the new budget took away the money that the Justice Department was using for that program.
And yes, this was deliberate. From the DoJ letter explaining the new situation:
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74) enacted in November included a $746 million permanent reduction, or “rescission,” of Asset Forfeiture Program Funds. In light of that $746 million reduction, we intended to implement measures similar to those during sequestration in FY 2013 when we continued to make equitable sharing payments but at a reduced amount.
However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, signed into law on December 18, 2015, includes an additional $458 million rescission in the FY 2016 budget.
The combined rescissions make it impossible for the DoJ to keep the program running, which is of course the intent. Civil asset forfeiture is one of those things that has been bubbling to a boil over here on the Right for some time now: we here at RedState have been yelling about it for a while, in fact. It’s just that 2015 was the first year since 2007 that conservatives and libertarians in the GOP could actually really do something about it. Before 2007 we weren’t being listened to by our own party; and from 2007 and 2014 it didn’t matter whether we were being listened to at all, because of course the Democrats are always happy to give police unions carte blanche and call it ‘being tough on crime.’
So, hey. Nice to have a positive change on this one, hey? – And you just have to keep plugging away at it, too. Hey, nobody ever said that being a conscientious citizen of the Republic was going to be sexy… and if they did, well: they lied.
(Image via Shutterstock)
PS: Think of a Congressman as a puppy that you are trying to train. If you punish the puppy every time that it does something bad and never praise it when it does something good, do you end up with a well-trained dog? Or do you end up with a half-neurotic, half-psychotic mess that will probably run out into traffic at the first opportunity?