Grassley on Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Legislative Plans
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, today made the following comment on news reports that prosecutors are abandoning their seizure of assets belonging to an Iowa restaurant owner over whether she structured bank deposits to avoid federal bank reporting requirements. Grassley is expected to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the next Congress. He is a senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over the IRS.
“I’m working on civil asset forfeiture reform legislation to introduce in the new Congress. News reports including those in The Washington Post have detailed aggressive seizures of cash and property from drivers. In the case of the Iowa restaurant owner and others like it, the IRS has now adopted an enforcement policy under which it won’t seize assets under the structuring law without evidence of underlying criminal activity unless there are extenuating circumstances. I’m looking at ways to make sure the IRS and other federal agencies’ use of these statutes are reformed permanently going forward. Since the IRS changed its approach in these cases, it could change its approach again, and the same is true for other agencies. It’s important to look at getting the right policies set in statute going forward. The government’s power to seize assets should be used fairly and with common sense. The reforms I’m developing are meant to curb instances in which government power unfairly infringes on the rights of motorists, small business owners and other Americans.”