Roskam helps lead bipartisan charge against civil-asset forfeiture laws
Protecting small businesses from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abuse was the subject of a hearing convened recently by the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, led by Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Dist. 6) of Illinois.
The hearing saw lawmakers from both parties speak out against the seizure of small-business bank accounts by the IRS and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Civil-forfeiture laws make it possible for authorities to permanently take property they suspect of being linked to criminal activity -- without obtaining a conviction or charging the owner with a crime.
“I hope the Department of Justice finally gets it this time," Roskam said. "The shameful practice of shaking down small-business owners for cash without any suspicion of criminal activity is an affront to the ‘justice’ for which the department is named."
Roskam noted how the issue has brought both parties together.
"At a time when Republicans and Democrats can hardly agree on anything, the DOJ has managed to unite my entire subcommittee – against the Justice Department."
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the subcommittee's ranking member, agreed.
"On this issue, we are on one accord," Lewis said.