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Collins Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage of DUE PROCESS Act

May 25, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON– Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up H.R. 5283, the DUE PROCESS Act of 2016. The bill, which reins in abuses under current civil asset forfeiture laws and protects fundamental property rights, passed out of committee by a voice vote. Congressman Collins, an original cosponsor of this legislation, issued the following statement after the vote, and highlighted the experience of his constituent Andrew Clyde, of Clyde Armory in Athens, Georgia:

“Current civil asset forfeiture law lacks fundamental protections, and has been used by the federal government to extort law abiding citizens,” said Congressman Collins. “Intended to stop drug dealers and organized crime, the current laws have been stretched far beyond their original purpose, to the point of abuse. Property owners have little recourse for recovering their assets, virtually no access to frozen assets to pay for counsel, and oversight is lacking.”

“Andrew Clyde, of Clyde Armory in Northeast Georgia, experienced the unfairness of these laws first hand, when the IRS seized capital from his business solely because he was regularly making cash deposits of several thousand dollars – a way that many small business owners do their banking. Mr. Clyde, a U.S. Navy veteran, had committed no crime, but was forced to forfeit $50,000 to the IRS, spend over $100,000 in legal fees, and is still fighting to regain control of all his property. ”

“This was not an isolated incident or a bureaucratic error – the  Department of Justice and the IRS too often seize the assets of small business owners for seemingly arbitrary reasons, leaving the burden of proof on the defendants to fight the federal government, or settle out of court. There is often very little evidence, and not enough due process. The legislation that passed out of the Judiciary Committee today addresses these abuses, and places much needed reforms on the current system. Mr. Clyde’s story shows how easily our property rights can come under attack by the government, and Congress needs to take immediate action to  protect Constitutional rights and prevent government backed extortion of law abiding citizens. Protections for innocent owners and heightened burden of proof were just a few of the critical reforms that I fought to have included in this bill, and I am proud to see that these protections are one step closer to being implemented through the passage of this bill at Judiciary.”

“The DUE PROCESS Act is a very big win for the liberty of the people and should lift the spirits of all Americans,” said Andrew Clyde. “Back in 2013, less than two months after the IRS forced me to forfeit my legally earned money, I presented my grievance to Congressman Collins and he promised me his help. Then when I testified before Congress last year about the IRS abuse, I asked them to prevent this from happening to anyone else. This legislation has done just that and I commend both Congressman Collins and the Judiciary Committee. Now just make it retroactive and the bill will be a World Series Grand Slam, Citizens 4 – IRS 0.”