Congress: Americans are Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Pass Civil Forfeiture Reform Now!
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For over 35 years, I’ve run a dairy farm in rural Maryland. Through hard work, my wife and I built up a modest nest egg.
But five years ago, the IRS seized our entire bank account—more than $60,000. In February 2012, two government agents came to my farm and told me they seized the account simply because my wife and I deposited cash in the bank in amounts under $10,000. I’m not a criminal, just a small-business owner who handles a lot of cash. We mainly sell milk at farmer’s markets, where customers usually pay in cash.
My wife and I were never charged with a crime. But that didn’t stop the government from confiscating our hard-earned money. Thanks to “civil forfeiture,” the government can seize private property even if the owner hasn’t been convicted or charged with a crime.
After years of fighting and with help from the Institute for Justice, I won back every single penny the IRS wrongfully took. But the civil forfeiture laws are still on the books and continue to harm thousands of ordinary Americans. In fact, just this week the Department of Justice announced that it was increasing the use of civil forfeiture to take property from Americans without convicting them of a crime.
This needs to end, for good.
That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass three bills—the RESPECT Act, the DUE PROCESS, and the FAIR Act—and stop the feds from taking other Americans' hard earned money.
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