Two Republican senators propose limiting ability of government to confiscate property

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Theft by government: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) are both proposing limits to the federal government’s ability to confiscate private property.

Since these confiscations are essentially unconstitutional and illegal, “limiting” the government’s ability here to me seems to be a weak response. These confiscations should cease entirely, now. Still, at least these Republicans are making sounds they want to do something about this fascist behavior.



  • Pzatchok

    I would like to see something similar to Texas’ Homestead laws passed in all states and the federal government.

    Basically a persons last home and car can never be taken or seized to pay an outstanding dept, fine or fee.

  • We don’t need more laws. The law is already on the books. It’s called the U.S. Constitution. Read the fifth amendment to the Bill of Rights, which clearly states that “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    The IRS, as well as all government agencies, blatantly violates the Constitution when they confiscate any property without due process.

  • t-dub

    Its not just the IRS. Look at civil forfeiture for suspected drug activity. A poor old lady in California who owned a small Mexican restaurant had her entire savings confiscated by the government simply because she deposited cash from her business, in the bank, on a daily basis. Basically the police file suit not against you but your property. To defend this in court takes resources and most people, who are not even guilty of a crime, choose to settle for a fraction or just walk away entirely. This is theft!!!

  • Pzatchok

    I think you missed part of your own phrase. ‘due process of law’

    The Texas law stops all that ‘due process’ when its your last home and car.

    So yes we do need a ‘new law’ or at least something to clarify and protect what we already have.

    Look up why that law was established and its consequences.

  • I am not a lawyer so obviously I can be mistaken about this, but my understanding of modern case law is that no state law can supersede federal law, and no federal law can supersede the Constitution. So, no Texas law can cancel out the limits placed on government by the Constitution, unless we as citizens decide to be sheep and allow that to happen.

  • Edward

    “had her entire savings confiscated by the government simply because she deposited cash from her business.”

    This is what happens when people who have never run a business make decisions that affect business. They have no idea that a business can take in just under $10,000 on a daily basis, and since her deposits — as with many other businesses — did not exceed their arbitrarily set limit (set decades ago, and with no consideration for inflation), they assumed, without proper investigation, that she was an easy target for governmental theft. Their “probable cause” was hardly probable at all.

    Because their only evidence was the amount that she deposited, they had no cause to charge her with a crime. They get away with the theft and look for a new target.

    T-dub is right, as I understand it, the confiscated property is assumed guilty of a civil violation, and if you are unable to prove that it didn’t commit the alleged (and unproved) civil crime, then you don’t get your property back. For some reason, the innocent ex-owner is punished for something that the property allegedly did. Do I understand this correctly?

    This unjust, unlawful (despite being in our legal codes), and corrupt practice must immediately stop in its entirety. It only serves to cause We the People to lose confidence in the justness of our (unjust) government.

    Did you know that the department that steals the money gets to keep a portion of it? There is no incentive to prevent this injustice and every incentive to expand it. Civil forfeiture has become a profit center for agencies and their departments, and when property is put up for auction, the officers or their friends and family can easily further “steal” the property for a fraction of its true value. Color of authority covers up quite a lot of corruption.

    For example, if an officer’s cousin is into antique cars, the officer need only raid someone with a car that the cousin wants, confiscate the car, and voila, cousin gets a new antique at the police auction. This isn’t a hypothetical example; it happened in Oakland several years ago. No evidence of a crime, so no charges filed. I meant to say that the officer and his cousin were not charged. The victim, obviously, was never charged with any crime, as he had not committed one, and the officer almost certainly knew it.

    I have tried finding the news article, but no matter how I refine my search, I keep being swamped with other examples of unjust uses of civil forfeiture. How have We the People allowed this widespread, ubiquitous injustice to go on for this long?

  • Pzatchok

    The Texas Homestead law comes from the time when drunk cowboys would be taken advantage of by unscrupulous gamblers and bankers.

    Basically what it states is that the persons last home and horse (at the time) could NOT be taken to pay ANY dept. Be it a gambling dept, hospital bill or court fine or fee.

    How this effected Texas Banking is interesting in that a persons home or car can not be used as collateral to secure a loan. Instead Texas banks have adopted some interesting ways of accepting collateral for a loan. many banks actually hold artwork. gold, classic cars, stamp collections, really anything of value could be in a Texas bank vault securing a loan for someone.

    Its obviously not harmed business or home sales in any way.

  • Fascinating. I hadn’t realized this Texas law existed. However, I don’t see how it has any effect on the ability of federal agencies to seize property without compensation. If anything, it limits the right of anyone to take someone’s property, as it forbids confiscation of the presently owned property. And it certainly doesn’t contradict Constitutional limitations.

  • Garry

    Doesn’t the ACLU supposedly exist to fight cases like this? If lawsuits are prohibitively expensive for the individual victims, shouldn’t the ACLU (or another organization like it) foot the bill on one or more of these cases, and appeal to as high a court as necessary to stop this practice?

  • You are correct that this is exactly the kind of fight the ACLU was created to fight. Sadly, in the past three decades the ACLU has increasingly failed to fight these battles, instead allowing leftwing politics to determine the focus of most of the organization’s legal efforts.

    It is because of the ACLU’s surrender to the left that the government ability to confiscate private property has been able to flourish.

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