With the deadline to file our federal tax returns approaching tomorrow, it’s timely Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is working to author legislation which aims to scale back the power of the IRS and other federal agencies to seize property and assets through forfeiture law.
“The practice and the abuse of this law has been well-documented in many news reports,” Grassley says. “As we develop this legislation, it’s important to hear from different sides of the issue.”
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday that will analyze the forfeiture program, which he refers to as a “dragnet.” Grassley says, “I’m holding a hearing to help shed light on how asset seizures work, the benefits of the program and the flip-side of how it can be abused.” The witness list includes victims of forfeiture cases, law enforcement officials and lawyers involved in the issue.
Grassley, a Republican, says the forfeiture law includes, in his words, “perverse incentives” for law enforcement. “There are appropriate instances for law enforcement use of asset forfeiture to seize property if it’s associated with criminal activity,” Grassley says. “We’ll look at that aspect and the inadequate procedural safeguards in the process for property owners to contest these seizures.” Grassley says he wants to explore ways to reform current laws that will prevent abuse and protect citizens and small business owners.