The Feds Just Expanded Civil Asset Forfeiture 'Laws' Nationwide

Tyler Durden's picture

When you're a government agency, asking for a tax increase is always a hassle. As Ryan McMaken notes, for the most part, taxpayers don't like taxes, and if asked if they want to pay more, they're likely to often say "no." Moreover, when public officials pass tax increases, they may face the wrath of taxpayers at the ballot box. For this reason, governments are always looking for ways to get revenue without having to use tax revenue.

One such 'hidden' method of seizing wealth from the taxpayers is through what is now called "civil asset forfeiture."

This occurs when a law enforcement agency seizes the assets - including real estate, cars, cash, and other valuables - from private citizens based merely on the suspicion that the person has committed a crime with the assets in question. No due process is necessary. No conviction in a court of law need occur. While it is technically possible to sue a government agency to reclaim one's possessions, this requires immense amounts of time and legal fees to pursue. Needless to say, civil asset forfeiture has become a lucrative source of income for law enforcement agencies. And, over the past 30 years, the practice has become widespread.

As Martin Armstrong detailed, between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually. In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989. Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year. Now, according to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses.

This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.

“Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets—all without so much as charging you with a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head.  With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.”


- “ Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” Institute for Justice

In jolly old England, Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. But as John Whitehead noted, in modern-day America, greedy government goons steal from the innocent to give to the corrupt under court- and legislature-sanctioned schemes called civil asset forfeiture. This is how the American police state continues to get rich: by stealing from the citizenry.

At every turn, “we the people” are getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.

President Trump has made it clear his loyalties lie with the police, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously declared his love for civil asset forfeiture, the Supreme Court keeps marching in lockstep with the police state, and the police unions don’t want their gravy train to go away, so there’s not much hope for federal reform anytime soon. As always, change will have to begin locally and move upwards.

Some state legislatures (Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Ohio) are beginning to push back against these clearly unconstitutional asset forfeiture schemes. As the National Review reports, “New Mexico now requires a criminal conviction before law enforcement can seize property, while police in Florida must prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that property is linked to a crime before it’s seized.”

And it is that pushback that has seemingly pushed the federal government to 'fix' the situation. As Reuters reports, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday that the federal government will reinstate a program that helps local and state law enforcement seize cash and other assets they suspect have been earned from crimes.

Local police will now be able to seize cash, often from those suspected of drug crimes, even in states that do not condone the policy.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters that most seizures were warranted because the "vast majority" of people who have property taken by police do not contest it in court.

"This is going to enable us to work with local police and our prosecutors to ensure that when assets are lawfully seized they are not returned to criminals," said Rosenstein at a media briefing at the Justice Department.

The Obama administration had rolled back the policy in 2015, saying it incentivized police to take money from people who had committed crimes.

Since former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder weighed in on the issue in 2015, Justice Department agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration has been barred from rewarding local police for taking possessions from people they stop.

Now, the federal government will again be able to return up to 80 percent of the assets seized to local law enforcement.

Rosenstein said the 2015 policy had a chilling effect on seizures by local law enforcement.


Many states have civil asset forfeiture laws that allow the state government to redistribute money seized for programs like education. But the federal program returns cash directly to the police department that took the asset, allowing them to buy new equipment or as drug sniffing dogs.


The Justice Department under President Donald Trump has made efforts to improve relationships with local and state law enforcement, which they viewed as damaged under the Obama administration. Rosenstein said that the president had heard from police who were concerned about the 2015 policy, but the administration was not acting to score political points with police unions that supported Trump's campaign.


"This is not an effort to appease any particular constituency. It is an effort to empower law enforcement," Rosenstein said.

The Police State's tentacles just reached a little further into your 'pocketbook' as what has become known as “policing for profit,” goes nationwide.. by federal law!

DoJ's Full new asset forfeiture policy letter below (confirming police can sezie proeprty from people not charged with crimes even in states where it is banned)...

As John Whitehead concluded so eloquently, remember, long before Americans charted their revolutionary course in pursuit of happiness, it was “life, liberty, and property” which constituted the golden triad of essential rights that the government was charged with respecting and protecting. To the colonists, smarting from mistreatment at the hands of the British crown, protecting their property from governmental abuse was just as critical as preserving their lives and liberties. As the colonists understood, if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, you have no true rights: you’re nothing more than a serf or a slave. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was born of this need to safeguard against any attempt by the government to unlawfully deprive a citizen of the right to life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Little could our ancestral forebears have imagined that it would take less than three centuries of so-called “independence” to once again render us brow-beaten subjects in bondage to an overlord bent on depriving us of our most inalienable and fundamental rights. Yet if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

Enough is enough.

We leave it to Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger to sum it all up...Washington D.C. has become a clear threat to hundreds of millions of Americans who just want to lead a decent lives for themselves and their families. The only policies coming out of that cesspool have made things far worse for the political and economic well-being of the vast majority of us. The time for us to take our constitutional powers back and reinstate self-government is long overdue.

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CH1's picture

Yeah, cause Blue and Red are all that exists.

macholatte's picture


The Clintons are ripe for asset forfeiture....



YourAverageJoe's picture

good catch!

And if I was a cop that found out I sick and had only 30 days left to live and had no family to retaliate against, I'd arrest her on sight and cuff her to a door knob to do the body cavity search (I'm gonna die anyway, right?). Roll them cameras!

38BWD22's picture



Hiding assets will become a new national hobby.

BTC, well-hidden gold, etc.

Bes's picture


this must be all the winning i keep hearing about.

trump: "i am the law and order president"

which actually means




and just in case you missed this one:

Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel."

it's bipartisan too

would Trump sign it?

apparently Israel supercedes the constitution




Juggernaut x2's picture

Trump is a statist asshole

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"The attorney for Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity, said Wednesday that “it’s certainly reasonable” to assume that police believed they might be the target of a possible ambush when his partner, officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed Justine Damond in a south Minneapolis alley Saturday night."

Its either your money or your LIFE!!  Now the police can use the "I WAS WORRIED I WAS GOING TO GET AMBUSHED" excuse to kill anyone they want.  3rd World Country HERE WE COME!!

The attorney for Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity, said Wednesday that “it’s certainly reasonable” to assume that police believed they might be the target of a possible ambush when his partner, officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed Justine Damond in a south Minneapolis alley Saturday night.


The attorney for Minneapolis police officer Matthew Harrity, said Wednesday that “it’s certainly reasonable” to assume that police believed they might be the target of a possible ambush when his partner, officer Mohamed Noor, shot and killed Justine Damond in a south Minneapolis alley Saturday n

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Sorry, not sure why the bottom paragraph is printed again in my post above.  I can't see it to delete it in EDIT. 


If you talk to the police in your pajamas, you better start getting worried.  They shoot first and ask questions later!!

MANvsMACHINE's picture

I only speak to the cops while wearing kevlar PJs.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters that most seizures were warranted because the "vast majority" of people who have property taken by police do not contest it in court.

Lies like Trotsky. To the citizens serving fresh, cooked noodles on the ears. Good luck contesting in court with no money for lawyering. Second mortgage from Countrywide on seized home available? Qualify for TARP? Calling Linda Green...

Objectively the country in the ass. And delves back deeper and deeper. Lifetime of eating slop from the propaganda trough telling to fear Big Poppa Commie, dominoes theory, spies everywhere, precious bodily fluids and all that stuff.

Dare to back away from the trough and you find the USSA now incorporates not just the the bad parts of, but also the worst US myths about, the USSR. It's all there: one-party political system, government control of news and entertainment media, secret police monitoring all communications, wars of aggression, deliberately spreading unrest and revolution, support for corrupt foreign governments, military bases in puppet regimes, prison labor camps, restrictions on travel, a higher criminal conviction rate than any Soviet courts, and more people imprisoned (both in raw numbers and rates) than under Stalin's rule.

Now comes the crustiest bit: this asset seizure policy, overriding even state governments, finally abolishes private property in the US of A.

But hey, at least America still has freedom. And indeed it is freedom, the kind of freedom a master enjoys over his slaves, the US kind of freedom. Of course, sugar coated with liberty, truth, and justice.

nmewn's picture

Rosenstein...Rosenstein...wasn't he the guy that appointed Mueller at the outgoing (ahem...FIRED!) Comey's behest?

Well yeah, I guess he was ;-)

bad man's picture

I'm making over $14k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do.. Go this web and start your work.. Good luck..

Cynicles II's picture

"The US, where freedom from liberty still exists."


PT's picture

Anyone else see any other problems with this stuff?

"You live in US?  How could you possibly have any cash or nice things?  You must be a crook!"
Any legit govt should be ashamed to admit it.
But I guess they lose their sense of shame when they are desperate.

Time to find out who is he-who-must-be-paid.
They had a choice whether to rob you or whether to "rob" he-who-must-be-paid.  You lost.

general ambivalent's picture

People hated Obama 'cause he was a nigger. But Trump just signed off on the most niggerish move of all time. Of all time.

Déjà view's picture

Police Union Fund...EXPECT MORE!

Archibald Buttle's picture

it was one of the very few things i thought obama did right (slowing up the asset forfeiture somewhat). so much for that precious "legacy."

Crash Overide's picture


How is asset seizure by the government important to anything the American public cares about right now besides having more of their shit taken by the feds?

With everythig going on this is what gets fucking accomplished?


NoPension's picture

Never call the police.

Don't talk to the police.

Don't even make eye contact with the fuckers.

Never walk up to, and ask a cop for help.

To do any of the get what you deserve, dumbass.

" She moved here from OZ, and actually thought the police were here to protect and serve her. Their job is to protect and serve their masters, and their pensions. They will kill you in a blink, if they feel threatened. Prove otherwise."

Nothing...NOTHING...of consequence will happen to this cop. Shooting across your partner in a vehicle??!! WTF??

nmewn's picture

I support this statement.

You are being spoken to by a cop beacuse you are either a potential witness for the government, the plaintiff or a suspect. 

Choose your words wisely.

shovelhead's picture

Talk to my lawyer.

The extent of any conversation.

PT's picture

If the govt is under-paying the police and the police are only interested in keeping up appearances - nice house, car, nice things for their family - well, that sorta suggests that the police force is now up for grabs, doesn't it?  For sale to the highest bidder?  Unfortunately, the average yob ain't rich enough to take advantage of such disparity.  But as for organized criminals ...


As a community, can you give with a smile?  A smart team may well be able to buy back their own police force.
"I pay my taxes.  But if my taxes aren't making their way to your pocket then ..."

Not for the weak, not for the bad negotiator.  It will need a little bit of carrot and a little bit of stick.  But you know it is going to happen, with or without you ...

Archibald Buttle's picture

in another thread, someone pointed out that NIRP turns assets into liabilities. i believe civil asset forfeiture laws do the very same thing. i can easily see a community doing what you propose, i.e. pooling resources to pay off the cops. i can also see them paying someone else to protect themselves from the cops, too. capitalism, ain't she a sight!

PT's picture

... and that is how an over-reaching govt disintegrates itself.  Not a pleasant mess.

Archibald Buttle's picture

"not a pleasant mess."

gonna have to borrow that one. maybe that phrase will penetrate some thick skulls. delusional idiots, almost down to the last xe.

northwdsnh's picture

Do those PJ's include a Kevlar helmet with facemask?

JSBach1's picture

Speaking of criminals, how much money can be collected when seizing all of our "representatives' assets" along with all of their other shady dealings funnelled via Family, friends and other "associates"?

trulz4lulz's picture

You know they are only talking about people that smoke weed, right?

JSBach1's picture

Yes I am aware of what "types" of persons this covers, hence the deductive yet light-hearted phrase: "Speaking of criminals..."

Try not to be too rigid in reading both the articles and especially the comments, otherwise you will miss the humor, ridicule, sarcasm, satire, exaggerating, along with the other tools literature offers us all, interwoven within, and by design. ;)

Archibald Buttle's picture

dang, and here i was under the impression you were referring to shoplifters. that way they get to double dip.

Abitdodgie's picture

Frstly she was not wearing a hajib , she was not with a male member of the famialy and she talked directly to a man . 3 reasons to put her down she violated the law and the police did what they are enforced to do executions.

swamp's picture

She was not inside her house

Dolar in a vortex's picture

You make a solid argument, it is Minnesota after all, they're sharia compliant, right?

Dolar in a vortex's picture

You make a solid argument, it is Minnesota after all, they're sharia compliant, right?

remain calm's picture

I hope they can help me find my gold in the bottom of the lake at my vacation home

BetweenThe Coasts's picture

Don't ever call the cops. Call the fire department; the are not murdering citizens just yet.

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Beam,

"Now the police can use the "I WAS WORRIED I WAS GOING TO GET AMBUSHED" excuse to kill anyone they want."

They can also add it to their:

"The officer/s feared for their lives" Phony False Narrative Scripted PsyOp.

The Criminal Fraud Syndicates at the Criminal Fraud STATE & LOCAL, CORP. INC. Levels are just following orders from the top Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC. City of London / Vatican / Israeli HQ.

The Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC. sets a precedent to all other Corp. government agencies (like local police) that it's ok to flout the "law."

When the top dog tells the public "fu#k off, we'll do what we like and not hold anyone accountable", all the smaller dogs follow suit.

So, when you see local police abusing the public and no one doing anything about it, you're seeing the smaller dogs following the Criminal "UNITED STATES, CORP. INC".

StaySunny3000's picture

Read Jim Stone's take on this story; you're only hearing half of it

veritas semper vinces's picture

I think it's actually MIGA

Lordflin's picture

This is the way it is done... pump up the welfare state under a Democrat administration... pump up the police state under the Republicans. They will not stop until they are stopped.

general ambivalent's picture

Bingo. The conservatives are just allies in 'progress'.

Archibald Buttle's picture

democrats have displayed a penchant for the security state, once in power, at least as voracious as the republicans, despite bitching about it when it's time for donations/elections. the republicans do the same, they just choose the dead horse of entitlement cuts to beat instead of the police state. and oh hell yeah, we are progressing, whether we want to or not...

gramps's picture

Lot of new accounts here spreading leftist propoganda. You're getting too popular Tylers.

serotonindumptruck's picture

If you haven't broken any laws, or if you don't have anything to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.


The 4th Amendment is dead.

The Wizard's picture

The 4th amendment and other amendments apply differently to Article IV, Sec. 2 Citizens than they do to 14th amendment citizens.

general ambivalent's picture

With each failure Drumpfsteintards look more and more like ziocon MDB. Don't take the name 'Million_Dollar_Ziocoins', it's mine.