GOP lawmaker blasts Sessions over asset forfeiture

GOP lawmaker blasts Sessions over asset forfeiture
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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday blasted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants DOJ wades into archdiocese fight for ads on DC buses Overnight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector MORE for announcing that the Justice Department would be increasing asset forfeiture around the country.

In a statement released by his press office, Issa called Sessions's decision "troubling."

“This is a troubling decision for the due process protections afforded to us under the Fourth Amendment as well as the growing consensus we’ve seen nationwide on this issue,” Issa said in the statement.

“Ramping up adoptive forfeitures would circumvent much of the progress state legislatures have made to curb forfeiture abuse."

Asset forfeiture is the process by which police departments and law enforcement agencies seize money and property suspected to be used in a crime. Issa warned that the Justice Department's decision to increase this practice would threaten Americans' due process rights.

"Criminals shouldn’t be able to keep the proceeds of their crime," Issa added, "but innocent Americans shouldn’t lose their right to due process, or their private property rights, in order to make that happen."

On Monday, Sessions said that the Justice Department would increase the practice as part of President Trump's focus on law and order.

"We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers," Sessions said Monday.

"With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners."