Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) issued the following statement on the Department of Justice's announced civil asset forfeiture policy change. The new policy follows Roskam's February hearing on protecting small businesses from having their bank accounts seized by federal authorities without due process.
"I was pleased to see that our oversight work has pressured the administration to acknowledge that its practice of seizing the banks accounts of hardworking Americans on mere suspicion of wrongdoing is destructive and unjust. However, Justice's "policy change' offers little actual protection for Americans unless it is enshrined in statute and provides for verifiable enforcement mechanisms beyond DOJ's current system of "just trust us.' As the subcommittee noted in February, a system that relies on prosecutorial discretion, supervisor approval, unspecified evidence, and countless other versions of the honor system has a notorious track record of governmental abuse at the expense of law abiding citizens. We will continue to demand concrete, verifiable proposals to ensure that innocent small businesses and families never again fall victim to such willful misuse of government power."