On Friday, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist co-authored an opinion editorial for PennLive with Faith and Freedom Coalition Executive Director Timothy Head and Freedom Works CEO and President Adam Brandon on why Pennsylvania needs civil asset forfeiture reform in 2016.
The article emphasizes PA Senate’s recent vote to pass asset forfeiture reform in its house to “improve property rights across the state.” Now, it is up to the House Judiciary Committee to get the bill through the legislature before this session ends in November.
Civil asset forfeiture, the process where law enforcement officials can seize property from citizens who have not been criminally convicted, has been significantly abused in Pennsylvania. Recently, the state’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, admitted to seizing $1.77 million in cash using civil asset forfeiture laws to profit off the seizures. On this issue, the article states:
“The money is very good in the forfeiture business – if you happen to work for the government. So good, in fact, that it becomes easy to lose track of it.
A current case in point involves now-disgraced Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who only recently admitted to seizing $1.77 million in cash using civil asset forfeiture laws.
As questions grew louder, the circumstances involving the cash – that had been sitting in boxes in her office for nearly two years – came to light.”
Millions of dollars sat in Kane’s office for two years, and there was no significant mechanism to check this seizure.
In the Institute for Justice’s Policing for Profit report released last November, Pennsylvania received a D- for its poor protections of innocent property owners, low bar for police to seize property, lack of conviction required to take property, and harmful use of profit with 100% of forfeiture proceeds going to law enforcement.
Pennsylvanians deserve to be treated better by law enforcement officials. That is why Americans for Tax Reform supports the current civil asset forfeiture reform bill in the state’s House of Representatives that passed the State Senate 43-7.
Please read and share Norquist’s article (found here) on these necessary measures to restore Pennsylvanian property rights before the 2016 legislative session ends.