Civil Asset Forfeiture

Sen. Rand Paul Wants to Make it Harder for the Feds to Take Your Stuff


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) today announced he has introduced the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act to add a bit more due process to the system by which federal prosecutors seize citizens' assets, often before ever proving they've broken the law. From his office's announcement:

The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General's Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury's General Fund.

"The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime," Sen. Paul said.

Looking over the legislation, the "clear and convincing evidence" replaces "a preponderance of evidence" threshold for the feds to attempt to force asset forfeitures. This is a higher legal burden of proof, requiring that "a party must prove that it is substantially more likely than not that it is true." It's still obviously not as good as requiring evidence of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt or for the federal government to actually convict somebody of a crime first, but baby steps, I guess.

The Daily Show just recently presented a segment on the "Highway-Robbing Highway Patrolmen," aptly illustrating how the twisted financial incentives from asset forfeitures turn law enforcement officers into thieves. Our lengthy archives of horrifying asset forfeiture stories can be skimmed through here.

Reason TV just interviewed Rand Paul this past weekend at the Lincoln Labs Reboot Conference in San Francisco. Watch below:

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  1. “The FAIR Act”

    That’s right bitches. Two can play that game.

  2. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture…

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Sheriff Lobo needs money.

    1. The wailing of the DAs has begun

  3. Yes. Moar this plz.

  4. Did he have to come up with a dumb acronym for the bill?

    1. YES. And it was not dumb.

      1. I tend to think of them as dumb by definition, just like the “[insert name of child victim here]’s Law” legislation.

    2. Apparently you don’t know how laws are written? I think it’s in the Constitution.

    3. Dumb? I don’t think it could be any more perfect.

    4. Dumb it’s genius and beating the libs at their own game. How is it going to sound when someone has to admit in a debate that they voted against the FAIR act? Dimwits will think she voted against fairness generally and not fifth amendment protections specifically.
      No different than calling oneself ‘pro choice’ vs the equally apt denonym ‘pro abortion’.

  5. More awesomeness from our next president.

    The Daily Show just recently presented a segment on the “Highway-Robbing Highway Patrolmen,”

    That’s great, but was it remotely funny?

    1. It wasn’t bad. It may even have gotten the message across to some of his viewers.

    2. There’s a link for you to see for yourself but … not really. It’s one of the segments where the correspondent had to make a punchline out of himself because the story itself is so terrible.

  6. That’s exactly what a Neo-Confederate would do.

  7. Fantastic!

  8. But do his pants drape and then crease correctly?

    1. Paul Fussell needs to know, ya know.

      1. Ha! Still have my copy of that book.

        1. The “prole gap” in the jacket was so much more important than the ideas discussed. Thank God for finishing schools as the be-all-end-all of political ideology! Because surely you can’t have a terrible idea if your jacket clings to your collar correctly…

          1. It was interesting to hear people’s reactions to my reading of such literature. Their questions were usually along the lines of “so what class category does that book say you fall into?” when I didn’t really give a shit.

            I read it to glean what information I found useful for projecting certain images and discarded the rest. Some folks have no imagination.

            1. Heh. Ex-fucking-actly, if I understand you correctly.

              1. By the way, I totally rejected that way of thought in about a year. 🙂 Made life more fun.

                1. Gatekeepers gonna gatekeep, tastemakers gonna tastemake, trendsetters gonna trendset, etc, ad infinitum.

                  Congratulations on freeing yourself!

    2. And does it make Chris Matthew’s leg tingle (most likely with fear)?

    3. But do his pants drape and then crease correctly?

      Rand didn’t attend an ivy league school and didn’t major in the humanities therefore he lacks the intellect to be president.


      1. It may not be Ivy League, but Duke is a very reputable school, and an MD is an impressive degree in my opinion.

        1. umm, it was a sarcastic joke, Bo, related to another post.

          Any reasonable person would think Duke and an MD are impressive enough.

          1. Not so much since the lacrosse case….

          2. Any reasonable person would think Duke and an MD are impressive enough.

            Yeah, but he’s an ophthalmologist. So when whomever he’s running against says, “Rand Paul ain’t exactly a brain surgeon,” that person will have a valid point. Talk about leaving yourself exposed. He might as well have become a chiropractor.

            1. Sure nailed it with the Perry eyesight/glasses comment though. Vision humor; well, I guess we’ll see what happens…

            2. Or get an endorsement for Dr Carson!

              1. err from Dr Carson. How do you edit these posts?

        2. Duke has a strong reputation as a medical school. I can’t comment of the rest.


  10. Why not “beyond a reasonable doubt” and require a separate hearing after sufficient criminal convictions have been attained? With no forfeiture against those for whome there has only been a misdemeanor, or no conviction?

    1. ^This.

    2. Because we live in fucking crazy world that’s why.

  11. With every day I am not only impressed with the soundness of Paul’s ideas and his brave, principled stances, but also his political astuteness. Take this measure, it applies mostly to the federal government, which will mute some of the criticism from ‘law and order’ conservatives and it is primarily a civil liberties measure, which will help undercut progressives which try to oppose it. Brilliant.

    1. Bo, I just need you to not freak out like some people I know and claim that Paul is a DIRTY SOCON!!!11 who wants to ban abortion and institute Christian sharia, or some silly shit.

      My suspicion is, if he’s playing politics, he’s assuaging the fears of those who vote primarily for guys like Santorum and Huckabee but eventually he will be revealed as the Libertarian Messiah who brings about The Moment? Gillespie keeps talking about.

      It’s all prophesied in this book I read (called the Declaration of Independents). Have you heard the Good News?

      1. I am not in agreement with Paul about everything, abortion being a big issue, but he’s so good on so many other things it would be crazy for me to not support the man.

        1. You seem to be getting a bit more reasonable, Bo. I’m impressed.

        2. “I am not in agreement with Paul about everything, abortion being a big issue, but he’s so good on so many other things it would be crazy for me to not support the man.”

          Yeah, I’m pro-choice, but on just about everything else he is great IMO. I would be happy to have only one real significant difference of opinion with the sitting president as opposed to having a different opinion on almost everything.

        3. “Someone who votes with you 80% of the time is not your enemy” (Reagan).

          something like that?

          Agreed. I’m not 100 % in lockstep with him, but close enough.

  12. I’ll be pleasantly shocked if this passes

    1. I’ll be surprised if it gets out of committee. Still a good law to introduce though.

      1. I would think bottling it up in committee would be the only way to stop it. What Congressperson is going to want to go on record against something like this?

        1. Committee, or Harry Reid tabling it? Place your bets, folks!

          1. My bet, if it makes it that far, is hack it up and pass it on cloture.

        2. How many of them even give a shit, anymore?

          Most of the sitting reps and senators seem quite willing to fuck us in the ass while smiling into our faces.

          1. Now there’s an unpleasant visual.

            1. +1 eye bleach

      2. The establishment Republicans need to understand that they have to get their act together much sooner than the Democrats. They need to start rallying around Paul now, just to get his name out there and start exposing the rest of the country to him. The Dems could wait until the week before the election to announce that Hillary was running, and still have a pretty good shot at winning. Rand Paul is doing his part to make the Republicans look better than they are, now it’s their turn to step up behind him.

  13. I suspect the vice law puritans are aligning the usual FOP forces against this right now.

  14. I am no fan of any principal, but this guy does seem to stand up for the right principles more often than anyone since…..uh…..well since the founding as far as I can tell.

    I would add this:

    “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    I don’t think rewriting what is already the supreme law of the land will do much good. Some nuts need to be cut. That is the only thing they understand.

  15. Make it harder for the government to take people’s stuff!? ANARCHY!!!

  16. This presents insufficient opportunities for graft. Who does Rand Paul think he is?

  17. Rand is pretty clever. He knows you can’t gain too much ground at one time, so he tries small increments like this. A step in the right direction is better than no step at all.

    The progs have been chipping away at our liberties one hack at a time, for a hundred years. Their technique is a little different. They go for it all and then accept the compromise of the Stupid Party. Rand is going to for a little inch at a time to get the Stupid Party to go along. Opposite technique, but equally effective.

  18. We need a fucking law the prevent the government from taking your stuff without charging or convicting you of a crime. Absurd.

  19. Well, that settles it. He’s got my vote.

  20. Sen. Rand Paul Wants to Make it Harder for the Feds to Take Your Stuff

    Have I mentioned I like Rand Paul?

  21. Sarcasm Button On:
    RE: Senator Rand Paul’s Proposed FAIR Act Legislation
    Comrades! This horrible proposal by Senator Paul is the antithesis of everything we socialist turds represent. A socialist state does not need something as bourgeois Bill of Rights. Every socialist state has always used its government to repress its population through terror, and the Union of Soviet Socialist States of America should be no different. Our beloved fascist state has been stealing from the small time capitalist pigs for decades with the blessing of the our enlightened Supreme Court (Bennis vs. Michigan). It is only when the state wipes its ass with the US Constitution can we achieve a true socialist utopia. The forfeiture of property before an arrest, trial, and conviction is made is a Marxist given right of any totalitarian police state. Our wise elitists leaders should decide who gets what property,how much and by whom. What could go wrong? Dear Leader Obama has proven repeatedly these past six years that crony capitalism is dead. The populace of our socialist state will receive the stolen bounty created by the producing class. As Dear Leader Obama has correctly pointed out, they did not build that. The redistribution of wealth and property has worked many times in other socialist states, such as Cuba, Zimbabwe, and North Korea. The forced redistribution of wealth without due process is best path leading to a socialist paradise.
    Sarcasm Button Off

    1. Send that to Warren or Obumma, and they can use it.

  22. Just to be clear: Am I correct in understanding that Rand Paul thinks that marijuana should be illegal, but also should sort of be legal? (Just like his opinion that U.S. foreign policy should sort of be determined by the Israel lobby, but also sort of not)? And also sort of like his opinion that Americans have a 4th Amendment right to not be spied on by the government – but that Snowden should not be granted clemency? (unlike Rand’s father’s position)

    Hard not to get enthused about Rand Paul. Wherever you stand, he agrees with you. That’s awesome. And a totally refreshing change from the usual partisan binary split. He’s got my vote! (and not)

    1. “Just like his opinion that U.S. foreign policy should sort of be determined by the Israel lobby, but also sort of not”

      Just like you cherry-pick?

    2. he wants the federal government out of the states way to decide if they want to legalize marijuana so whether or not he wants it legal or illegal he would have no say regardless.

  23. Why is he doing that.?? It should already BE the part of the law.

  24. Introduced:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Referred to Committee on Jul 23, 2014
    1% chance of being enacted

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