“The Department of Justice announced [last] week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers,” reports the Washington Post.
The Feds call the paused program “equitable sharing”; as I explained last month, I call it “equitable stealing.”
Even when state and local laws prohibit it, local police have been using this federal program to continue taking people’s money and property without ever convicting them of a crime.
The loophole? They split the loot with the Feds.
Now that has ended. According to the Post, this is the result of “budget cuts” in the recently passed omnibus spending bill; the Wall Street Journal calls it a “reallocation of funds.”
Either way, Happy Holidays!
Yet, sadly, the return to freedom, justice and the American Way may be short-lived.
“The Department does not take this step lightly,” wrote M. Kendall Day, the chief of DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. “We explored every conceivable option that would have enabled us to preserve some form of meaningful equitable sharing. . . .”
In his letter, he proclaiming a commitment to the principle of guilty-until-proven-innocent and to grabbing people’s stuff, telling state and local and tribal police departments, “We will take all appropriate and necessary measures to minimize the impact of the rescission and reinstate sharing distributions as soon as practical and financially feasible.”
As the Wall Street Journal editorialized, “Congress should make sure that never happens.”
Of course, Congress will likely need a mighty nudge from us.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.