Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, today made the following comment on a New York Times story describing the IRS’ use of civil asset forfeiture laws to seize the assets of small business owners without suspicion of a crime. A senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over the IRS, Grassley is a long-time proponent of IRS improvements, having served on the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS and co-authoring the first-ever Taxpayer Bill of Rights and its sequel.
“When I hear about legitimate business owners’ having their money seized without judicial review, it reminds me of the taxpayer abuses that led Congress to create taxpayer bill of rights laws and the IRS restructuring commission. The IRS plays a role in fighting money laundering and other criminal activity, but it has to treat business owners fairly. If the pendulum has swung too far in favor of the government and against fairness for innocent people, then it’s time to reform civil asset forfeiture laws and procedures. I plan to look into the government’s use of civil forfeiture laws, including the IRS’ use, and develop potential reforms where necessary.”
The New York Times story is available here.