Asset Forfeiture

Ted Cruz: Republicans Have to Support Asset Forfeiture Reform

Says he can't back criminal justice reform for violent offenders.

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Reason

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke to CPAC attendees after his speech. Asked by Reason about whether he would back criminal justice reform this Congressional session, Cruz explained that Democrats "lost" him on reform with their "focus" on violent criminal offenders. Cruz said he was on board for reforms for non-violent offenders, but that in his career he had seen too many violent offenders to back such more comprehensive reform.

Asked specifically about asset forfeiture reform, Cruz stressed that it was a "property rights issue" and so Republicans ought to support it. President Trump briefly brought asset forfeiture reform to the forefront of the news cycle two weeks ago at a "listening session" with law enforcement officials from the border area, when he off-handedly offered to destroy the career of a Texas state senator whose asset forfeiture reform efforts a Texas sheriff complained about. One senator who he may have meant, Republican Konni Burton, a leading advocate of asset forfeiture reform in the state senate, said she wouldn't let Trump's comments discourage her.

In recent years, Republicans have taken the lead on asset forfeiture reform, helping to pressure the Justice Department to reel back some of its participation with local agencies on forfeiture.

Despite Trump creating the opening for asset forfeiture to enter the public discourse just as the Senate considered asset forfeiture advocate Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Democrats and pro-reform Republicans like Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul did not draw attention to Sessions' opposition to asset forfeiture reform and the disconnect between that and not only popular opinion but also trends within the Republican party.

Check out Reason TV on asset forfeiture reform below: