The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) issued a sharp condemnation of Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 White House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE’s (R-Ky.) opposition to Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Thursday.
Paul said he opposed confirming Lynch because she supports civil forfeitures, a controversial law enforcement tactic, but the chairman of the CBC dismissed those concerns.
“Senator Paul is using the issue of civil forfeitures to block a well-qualified federal prosecutor from heading the Department of Justice,” said CBC Chairman G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldWHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill House Democrats push to introduce John Lewis voting rights bill within weeks Black Caucus presses Democratic leaders to expedite action on voting rights MORE (D-N.C.) in a statement. “Senator Paul also has the audacity to suggest that Loretta Lynch should have more concern for people living in poverty.
“The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes Senator Paul’s unfounded argument as nothing but an excuse to keep an African American legal scholar from holding this high position, and we directly call on him and Republicans to allow the nomination of Loretta Lynch to proceed to an up or down vote in the Senate,” he added.
On Wednesday, Paul said that he was opposing Lynch because she had said during her confirmation hearing that asset forfeiture laws are a “wonderful tool.”
Under the laws, police departments and other law enforcement agencies can keep the proceeds of properties they seize during investigations — even when they never charge the owner with a crime.
Law enforcement agencies say that it helps them stop the proceeds of crime from being returned to criminal syndicates.
Paul has proposed legislation that would strip the attorney general of the authority to run those programs at the federal level.
In his statement announcing his opposition to Lynch’s nomination on Wednesday, Paul said that he considered the laws “ to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment.”
He also cited Lynch's support for President Obama’s executive action on immigration and what he called her “non-committal” stance on the legality of drone use when explaining his opposition to her confirmation
Paul does not serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will vote on whether to advance Lynch’s nomination to the floor. But he has made his support for criminal justice reforms a key part of his agenda as he considers running for president in 2016 and argues that the Republican Party must better appeal to minority voters.