Donald Trump

Updated! Meet the Libertarian-Leaning GOP Texas State Senator[s] Whose Career[s] Donald Trump Wants To Destroy

Konni Burton is leading a coalition to reform civil-asset forfeiture abuses. So naturally the president is against her.


UPDATED (2:20 P.M.): The Texas state senator in question below turns out to be a complicated matter; it could be as many as four, three of whom are Republicans. Scroll down for new information.

Donald Trump campaigned as "the law and order" candidate, so it's not surprising that he is likely to govern as one, too.

Still, when it comes to the issue of civil-asset forfeiture laws, even the dirtiest of Dirty Harry wannabes will grant there's something really creepy about the cops and the courts having the ability to take your stuff without even charging you with anything, much less convicting you of anything.

But here's an exchange via the Twitter feed of CNBC's Steve Kopack that should send chills down the spine—and bile up the windpipe—of every American who gives a damn about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and whether or not Lady Gaga included "under God" during her satanic Super Bowl incantations (she did).

Civil-asset forfeiture, which often doesn't require any sort of criminal charge, is big bucks. As Scott Shackford has noted, in 2014, the FBI alone snatched up $5 billion in seized assets. It's common for local police departments to grab whatever they can from whomever they can (often, the relatives or friends of people assumed to be drug dealers and the like). C.J. Ciaramella took a long, disturbing look at the way the state of Mississippi gilds its budget with seized assets.

Again, we're not talking about drug lords who are charged, have their assets frozen, are found guilty, and then have their assets sold at auction to pay reparations, or anything like that. The way a ton of asset forfeiture works is that the cops, or a prosecutor, or somebody else takes your stuff, claiming that it's connected to some sort of illegal activity. You may or may not be involved in anything illegal, but it's on you to get your stuff back. The likely next attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a big fan of asset forfeiture, so it's likely to be an issue, even in states that are trying to rein it in. And it should be reined in, like a crazy horse: It's not about law and order, it's about unaccountable power.

Konni Burton, Texas Observer

The Texas state senator referred to in the video above appears to be Konni Burton of Colleyville. Get this, too: She's a libertarian-leaning Republican and here's how she explained the situation to the Texas Observer:

"Right now, law enforcement can seize property under civil law, and it denies people their basic rights," said Burton, who sits on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. "There's a basic problem with this process that I want to correct."…

Now it's uniting politicians who might not otherwise be willing to break bread, according to Matt Simpson, senior policy strategist for ACLU Texas.

"It's an issue that crosses party lines; it's not Democrat versus Republican or liberal versus conservative," he told the Observer, adding that he hasn't "seen a bill we wouldn't support in relation to civil asset forfeiture reform, especially some of the stronger ones."

Local police departments and other law enforcement agencies in Texas get about $42 million a year from seized assets, creating a moral hazard that even Donald Trump would recognize. And as far as ruining Burton's career—or that of anyone else involved in the effort—the president might want to consider that regular Americans understand that there's been a massive decrease in violent and property crime over the past couple of decades. These days, people are often worried about how bullying authorities are likely to act, creating a bipartisan push for all sorts of criminal-justice reform.

Hat tip: BalkansBohemia's Twitter feed.

Update: Various Texas media sources say that it's not actually clear whom Trump and Sheriff Harold Eavenson are discussing in the video clip above. Eavenson has refused to name the senator directly and now the Dallas Morning News reports that in addition to Burton, other possible senators include en. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Bob Hall (R-Rockwall), and Don Huffines (R-Dallas).

"He was just being emphatic that he did not agree with that senator's position," Eavenson said, adding of the senator in question, "I'm not into assassinating his character."

Eavenson will become president of the National Sheriff's Association in June. He has been active in the Sheriff's Association of Texas.

Well, sure, maybe. Then again, the fact that there are so many suspects underscores how unpopular civil-asset forfeiture is across traditional political parties.

NEXT: California Teachers' Pension System Lowers Projection, Potentially Tripling What Taxpayers Will Owe

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  1. Ah, government-sponsored armed robbery. Glad to see our President is on board with it.

    1. Maybe he’s just trolling….

      1. It’s a grand long game strategy to eliminate civil asset forfeiture outright. Give it 4 or 8 years.

        1. Yeah, I see your point.

        2. You forgot the obligatory reference to The Art of the Deal.

        3. ‘Member when progtards would claim that Obama was playing 4-D chess and people criticizing him were just too stupid to see the bigger picture, and how stupid it sounded then? ‘Member?

          1. Oh… I ‘member!

    2. Hell taxation is government sponsored armed robbery. I don’t even know what the hell you can call this to make it sounds as distasteful as it is.

  2. How can we fight crime if we can’t steal your shit?


    1. That actually is the argument they use. They just don’t use the phrase “steal your shit”….

  3. Mr. Gillespie, Trump was joking, and everybody in that video knew he was joking. That’s why they all laughed.

    He was kidding about destroying “his career”.

    1. Maybe, but he’s still on board with asset forfeiture, which is the main thrust of this article, and is bullshit.

      Not every criticism of Trump is TDS, you know.

      1. No, not every criticism of Trump is TDS, and I criticize him myself all the time when he’s wrong. Ask me for a short list of criticisms, and I’ll give it to you.

        It’s better to concentrate on the stuff he’s wrong about than to take his being a braggadocio literally–when that isn’t the way it was intended.

        The other day, Dalmia mentioned Trump threatening to invade Mexico–as if that justified something.

        When Ronald Reagan announced ahead of a radio address that the bombing of Russia was beginning, he was joking. He was just kidding, and everybody knew it–except for a bunch of journalists who thought they’d cracked a big story. . . . it made them look ridiculous for taking Reagan’s jokes seriously.

        There were lots of legitimate things to criticize Reagan about–especially on policy. It would have been better to stick to them rather than take his jokes literally.

        1. “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

          —-Ronald Reagan

        2. So how’s about that short list? I’m curious.

          1. He’s wrong on free trade, civil asset forfeiture, eminent domain, building the wall on the border with Mexico, and that’s just for starters.

            Although I support suspending the asylum seeker program that resettles people here in the U.S., applying that to people who already had green cards was unconstitutional and wrong because it violated those people’s due process rights.

            He’s wrong about a lot of things. He’s right about others–like the individual mandate and Dodd-Frank.

            There’s certainly more than enough to criticize without getting distracted by his bravado and hyperbole. Bravado and hyperbole aren’t real problems. Being in favor of civil asset forfeiture is a real problem.

            1. Bravado and hyperbole aren’t real problems.

              They are when no one can tell what’s just bravado and what he’s serious about. Including, probably, himself.

              1. Oh, please. Watch the video.

                Everyone is laughing.

    2. The headline was 100% over-the-top Buzzfeed style BS.

      The substance I don’t have a qualm with and this is definitely one area that the Trump admin needs scrutiny on with Sessions as AG.

      1. Trump is over-the-top Buzzfeed style BS.

        1. You’re just mad that I beat you in the what-rhymes-with contest.

          1. Well yeah…

      2. And then he added the update casting doubt on the actual core of the story…but the headline stands unchanged.

        (clicks, baby,clicks!)

    3. Spine chilling, I say

    4. Only the Trumptard shills would fail to notice that his Majesty was not laughing.

      1. Yeah, well, obviously, if he isn’t laughing at his own joke, then he must not have been joking?

        Is that what we’re supposed to think?

        Do you always laugh at your own jokes? If so, that might be symptomatic of a mental condition.

  4. Could that have, I don’t know, maybe been a joke, considering the laughing afterwards? No, no, can’t be. Trump doesn’t crack jokes. That would humanize him too much.

    Quick, more diapers for the Reason staff, ASAP

    1. You people are officially becoming more annoying than Robby’s virtue signaling with this shit.

      1. That line was crossed a week ago.

        1. NO, YOU”RE NOT PURE ENOUGH!!! NO, YOU!!!!

        1. oh, yes, moar!

          The tears of whiny ‘libertarians’ are the best tears of all!

      2. It’s annoying shitheads all the way down.

    2. You should set up a macro for this post. I have a feeling you will be saying it pretty often in the next few years.

      1. Yep, every time someone says anything the least bit critical of Daddy.

        1. WAAAAHHHH!!!!

    3. Government officials joking about abusing their power wasn’t funny when Obama joked about droning people, and it’s still not funny.

      1. But the humor of it isn’t the issue. It sounds like Trump is getting one side of the argument here. Hopefully Burton or a surrogate has the presence of mind to give the president the other side of the story, if he doesn’t already have it (and I’m guessing he doesn’t) and not fan a brewing flame war.

        1. Hopefully Burton or a surrogate has the presence of mind to give the president the other side of the story,

          What makes you think he’s interested in the other side of the story? Of Trump’s few consistent planks is Law ‘n Order. He’s not going to throw a large and powerful faction under the proverbial bus over an issue of which Joe Sixpack is barely aware.

          1. This, he is going to be a fucking asshole on this issue.

          2. Unless it’s tied to trying to make money for his businesses, Trump seems like he can be persuaded to take the position of the last person to talk to him about whatever subject.

        2. With Sessions as his law’n’order guy, I would not expect much to be achieved in this scenario.

      2. I have to agree with this.

        Look, folks, I’m as quick to roll my eyes at the Trump Acceptance Rejection Disorder as anyone else. Even here, it’s gotten out of control with a lot of the writers. To the point where they’ve started to become guilty of one of the worst of journalistic sins – bad writing.

        But, that doesn’t make Trump some sort of Libertarian Messiah. He’s wrong on a number of issues. And he’s just plain dead wrong on this issue. And joking about abuse of power is something that, as libertarians, we shouldn’t be treating lightly.

      3. Obama didn’t just joke about droning people. He actually DRONED US CITIZENS…..

        So…. there’s that.

      4. Yeah, for some reason I doubt an Obama joke in this manner would have gone over as well as Trump’s is with a lot of people here.


    1. I don’t know how anyone could think otherwise. It’s not like Trump has a history of pursuing ridiculously petty feuds purely out of spite, right?

      1. Shocking, concern troll agrees with troll

  6. People:

    Trump was obviously joking.

    That’s not the thrust of this article.

    Trump supports asset forfeiture.

    Asset forfeiture is bullshit.

    That’s all.

    Not everything is TDS.

    1. It’s too late. The Reverse TDS has progressed to the terminal stage for too many people here.

      1. The Reverse TDS

        The medical term is TDSDS. SDDS is also rampant around here. I think, unfortunately, that my RSDS recently mutated and became thread-borne, infecting most of the commentariat. For that, I apologize.

      2. I don’t get it. I know a lot of people got drunk on prog tears, but it’s become an addiction for some. As long as the progs are unhappy, they’re happy.

        1. Prog tears are delicious, but no matter how much you drink, an hour later you’re thirsty again.

        2. My very far to the left of anything remotely reasonable best friend jokes that Michelle Obama should condemn drinking Drano. Immediately Mississippi would be depopulated and Texas would be like California. Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of confirmation of his position recently.

          1. If she endorsed it would that depopulate California and NY?

            1. Only if it was non-GMO gluten free Drano.

      3. Then, of course, there’s the reverse-reverse-TDS, which manifests itself through haughty, above-it-all douchesmuggery.

        I guess it’s the best way to make sure everybody knows you’re not on board with Trump. And it beats the daily freakouts of Robby and Shikha, I’ll give you that.

      4. And this is why I’ve been hiding in my fallout shelter, eating canned food and blasting anyone who comes near with a shotgun.

        1. You live in Canada. Do you run Trump’s Canadian fan club from your Canadian fallout shelter?

          1. We’ve got the best bunker, it’s YUGGGE.

            1. You have your own personal troll John. That may be more prestigious than Hihns list. Im jelly

              1. I’m gonna call him Stumpy, and I’ll feed him and pet him and take care of him and…

    2. Bile inducing, at best

    3. Sure, correct on all counts. But still, why give the false impression that he wasn’t joking? I’m sure Nick knows as well as anybody that not everybody will watch the accompanying video, or read the comments.

    4. Yeah, I don’t doubt that he was joking but that doesn’t make it not fucking disgusting. Lindsay Graham probably was joking about using the military to force congress to raise defense spending, but it still indicates that he’s an authoritarian piece of shit.…..ense-cuts/

      1. I did like how trump called him and mccain out for wanting to start ww3

    5. There is no such thing as TDS. One’s exasperation cannot possibly outpace the actual behavior of the man.

      1. I’d watch out Tony, some of the folks here are hooked on prog tears. Wouldn’t want you to end up in a basement chained to the wall with tubes attached to your eyes.


  8. Tom Cotton is a raging douche.

    “Sen. Cotton and I are taking action to fix the shortcomings in our legal immigration system,” Perdue said. “Returning to our historically normal levels of legal immigration will help improve the quality of American jobs and wages.”

    All told, the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States under the bill ? named the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act ? would plummet by 40 percent in the first year and by 50 percent over a decade, according to analysis by Cotton’s aides.

    Because legal immigration is the real problem….

    1. He’s for legal immigration in the sense Chicago is for legal gun ownership: when all guns are banned, a prohibitionist can technically claim to only be going after illegal firearms.

    2. I’m not for it, but he can put forward a bill if he wishes and try to defend it to the rest of Congress (and to the districts that they represent). Consider the ups and downs of the immigration debate last time a bill on the subject ? the Gang of Eight package ? was up for debate. Rather than deal with either executive action or bully pulpitry, let’s see ow the legislative system tests the various theses on the ground in the immigration debate.

  9. I am DEEPLY disturbed! Here’s a reasonably decent-looking, perhaps even delectable, blonde libertarian-leaning BABE, and ***NO ONE*** has yet declared that they have a would-eee!!!

    So I will reluctantly SCOOP y’all slow-as-molasses, asses, and now declare that I have a would-eee!!!

    Detailed description of my would-eeee to follow soon….

    1. Don’t be silly, that’s clearly a stock photograph. It’s an axiom that there are no libertarian women. So by extension there should be no libertarian-leaning women who might accidentally be mistaken for actual libertarians.

      I don’t want to have to use the word libertarian so often in a comment about libertarians.

    2. I didn’t think Trump was your type, dude. NTTAWWT.

  10. Get your TDS here!!! Red hot (Orange hot?!) TDS here!!!


  12. Good to see the troll is on tilt and folks arent biting. Swirling down the drain

    1. Our resident concern troll in now interacting with it.

      1. Who would this be? I am not the real American socialist. I took his screename and said he could have it back with payment

        1. I think he’s going after Stormy on that one.

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  14. “Local police departments and other law enforcement agencies get about $42 million a year from seized assets, creating a moral hazard that even Donald Trump would recognize.”

    Oh, Nick, you poor deluded fool.

  15. I suspect Trump’s support for civil asset forfeiture is a calculated attempt to get the support of the police and the police unions–like being anti-free trade helped him win with union people in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

    Trump stealing some 40% of the union vote from the Democrats in those states is why he’s President.

    Regardless, he’s wrong on this issue.

    1. Trump is all-in on the pro-cop side and has been clear about this. Of course it’s not a thoughtful policy position, it’s him taking their side against the “thugs” in the culture war in his head. It’s like one of his major platform issues. Enjoy being a libertarian Trump supporter. It’s gonna get real ridiculous real fast.

      1. This is ironic coming from you

        1. I need to let you know that stealing american socialist’s handle doesn’t mean you acquired any of his cleverness.

          1. Thanks for the laugh Tony.

            1. That was pretty choice. Never expected to see any form of humor from the likes of him.

  16. It’s a fucked up world gentleman.

  17. Even assuming the $42 Million a year is 100% confiscated from the Cartels, it is probably a rounding error for them.

  18. OK, this is bad, almost as bad as Gillespie suggested it was, if that can be imagined.

    The sheriff said in a shocked tone that some state legislator would “require conviction before we [cops] could receive that forfeiture money.”

    Trump mutters “can you believe that” like it’s the silliest thing he’s ever heard.

    Then the sheriff talks about the cartels would love that and Trump makes the destroy-career joke.

    Finally – FINALLY – we found a case of Trump actually being evil.

    That’s kind of a relief because at least I can be glad I voted 3rd party.

    1. And I’m glad I watched the clip, otherwise I would have simply assumed it was another pants-shitting moment by the TDS media.

      But you can see Trump’s disgusted body language as he contemplates the fact that some cop-hater wants to require a conviction before the cops can get “forfeiture money.”

      It wasn’t as if the sheriff used vague euphemisms like “crippling our key law enforcement tools.” He said that this rogue legislator would actually require a conviction prior to forfeiture, and Trump was just incredulous that anyone could hate cops that much.

      1. Yeah Eddie, he is kind of a dick.

        1. It’s just that for once the little shepherd boy is right, you can actually see the wolf ripping out a sheep’s entrails…I expected it to be another false alarm.

        2. Where did you get that idea?

      2. Totally agreed. The folks claiming “It’s just a joke” here are a tad unbelievable. It wasn’t an off-the-cuff one-liner. Trump’s mannerisms and preceding statement clearly indicate he was disgusted by the person the Sheriff was talking about. His “ruin their career” statement may have been a bit of hyperbole, but his feelings on the issue were clear. What followed seemed to be more polite/nervous laughter than anything else.

  19. The ‘career destroying’ comment is a joke, but overall this is good coverage of Trump’s assholery towards civil asset forfeiture, and how his relationship with the cops is going to make police reform highly unlikely. Such is the nature of a ‘law and order’ candidate.

    How’s that Libertarian Moment working out for you Gillespie?

    1. It’s not just that Trump is for civil asset forfeiture, he is specifically, openly contemptuous at the idea that a conviction should precede forfeiture.

      It’s as if someone suggested to him that it’s wrong for the government to take someone’s home and give it to a large corporation.

      1. Hence ‘assholery’. A ‘law and order’ candidate tends to inevitably lead to a ‘corrupt and unaccountable’ police. Civil asset forfeiture is already an abused system, and I’m sure it will get worse over the next four years.

    2. JT, check above to Lee’s link regarding Tom Cotton and reducing legal immigration. I know that isn’t calling for an immigration ban, like I was saying yesterday, but it is pretty similar.

      1. Stormy posted that late in the AM links, with a OMG REPUBLICANS! note. If he’s right, that bill will sail right through Congress; I’m guessing it won’t.

        1. I don’t think it will pass either.

      2. Seen it already. Again, it’s not an immigration ban, it’s a reduction in immigration. My whole point was that it’s never full “SEAL THE BORDERS”, it’s always a discussion about what the immigration policy should actually be. Some want more, some want amnesty for illegals, some want them kicked out, some want a massive reduction. The statement ‘you’re against immigration’ tends to be deliberately inaccurate because it’s not honest about their opponents’ position. Even Cotton is talking about ‘historic levels’ (and I’m interested to see what data he’s cherrypicking to say that).

        1. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote, but this:

          The statement ‘you’re against immigration’ tends to be deliberately inaccurate because it’s not honest about their opponents’ position

          Is generally true, but it also discounts the “America First-ers, us before them, and as few of them as possible” sentiment that has always existed, which is what I trying to refer to last night.

          1. “America First-ers, us before them, and as few of them as possible” sentiment that has always existed, which is what I trying to refer to last night.

            Fair enough, but that’s literally how a state and any collective of people operate. Nations don’t have friends, only interests and all that. A nation is a tribe, and a tribe will prioritize its interests over others. The people of the tribe will prioritize the interests of like over the interests of unlike. I don’t think you can expect people in a collective system to go “yeah, that other guy I don’t know is first priority, we’ll just wait our turn!” That’s the nature of a national identity.

            1. More of this and less “DE TOOK R JERBS!!!” would lead to more actual discussion.

  20. … the president might want to consider that regular Americans understand that there’s been a massive decrease in violent and property crime over the past couple of decades…

    Do they? Are you sure about that?

    According to the media, including social media, coverage — the primary information sources for a substantial percentage of “regular Americans” — crime is running rampant. Even Rush Limbaugh remarks that crime is rising as part of his plug for a home security company.

    I find it hard to believe that “regular Americans” are even aware of the decrease in crime over the last score of years.

    1. It’s the same way lefties can honestly believe that 25% of college women are raped every year. They hear the statistic from trusted news sources and, while they don’t see it with their own eyes, their trusted sources couldn’t possibly be lying, could they?

      1. Trump has such a perfect name. As in, like some slack-jawed fat-man radio junkie you still think “lefties” are the problem. There’s a new card to play now, and it’s a bloated, orange, stupid walking apocalypse, and “lefties” did not make him the most powerful man in the world.

        1. How’s New Zealand by the way?

          1. Cloudy but very nice, thanks.

        2. I don’t think “lefties” are “the problem”. They are part of the problem, but not the whole problem.

          I was merely commenting on the similarities of the media bubbles that each tribe inhabits.

          One tribe believes terrorists are lurking behind every corner.

          The other tribe believe college student rapists are lurking behind every corner.

          1. Every time someone asserts this false equivalence, Mitch McConnell grows another chin. The latter are more often than not able to change their mind when new evidence emerges. Sure some are holding onto the false rape statistic, but I’m not, and I have no emotional investment in doing so. Find me a rightwinger who’s reassessed anything he’s ever believed on any subject. Find me one who accepts the scientific consensus on climate change.

            1. Cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

              1. Doesn’t that require him/her/it to have a functioning brain? I mean, sweet Buddha, he just threw down CC like it’s some kind of gospel…

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