The DEA hired a TSA agent to rifle through luggage at the airport, looking for money that the DEA could seize and add the money to their budget. Besides being unethical, it also violates the Fourth Amendment. In “civil asset forfeiture”, the government does not have to prove you came by the money illegally. In fact, you can prove you came by it legally and you still may not get it back. The IRS does it all the time and negotiates with the person, who then must forfeit a portion of their money in order to get the rest back, even after proving the money is legal.
Robert Everett Johnson, an attorney for the law firm of Institute for Justice said:
“This really is what we see every day around the country — when law enforcement takes property using civil forfeiture, law enforcement is able to keep that property and use it to fund their budgets and in many cases even to pay the salaries of people who are overseeing the forfeitures.
“That creates an obvious financial incentive to take property from people who haven’t done anything or haven’t been proven to have done anything wrong. It creates an incentive for all kinds of abuse.”
The Inspector General has determined that the DEA plan violates the Fourth Amendment if it is used to seize money. Many states are currently passing laws to curb civil forfeitures. Lawmakers in Congress are also looking to eliminate the search for wealth used by liberals to increase the money they have to spend. That effort has met with resistance but it also includes some democrats, who also feel civil forfeitures are being misused against the innocent.
From 2009 through 2013, the DEA seized 163 million in 4,138 cash forfeitures. Many of them were legit but many are not.
Seizing innocent cash became a cottage industry under Obama.