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Leading Small Business, Taxpayer Organizations Endorse the FAIR Act

April 30, 2015
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg's (MI-07) bipartisan legislation to dramatically reform our nation's civil asset forfeiture laws to protect against unlawful seizures has been backed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act) was introduced on January 27 in both the House and Senate by Congressman Walberg and Senator Rand Paul.

In a letter to Walberg and Paul, NFIB's Vice President for Public Policy Amanda Austin wrote: "Too many small business owners have been unreasonably targeted by authorities using the civil forfeiture program. The FAIR Act would make the civil forfeiture program more transparent, reduce the law enforcement's profit incentives and make for greater oversight."

In a NFIB survey of small business owners finalized this month, 92 percent agree that clear and convincing evidence of a crime must be presented before law enforcement seizes a small business' assets.

"This proposal would be a monumental leap in the effort to reform the nation's broken civil asset forfeiture system," ATR President Grover Norquist wrote in a separate letter to Walberg and Paul. "This fundamental change to the status quo would bolster public faith in the rule of law and assure Americans that criminals, not law-abiding civilians, pay the price for broken laws."

"I'm encouraged to see a growing momentum for much-needed civil asset forfeiture reform," said Congressman Walberg. "The principles of due process and property rights are central to America's founding, and the FAIR Act protects those constitutional rights and returns the balance of power back to the American people and away from an overreaching federal government."

The FAIR Act is supported by more organizations across the ideological spectrum, including the ACLU, Institute for Justice, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, FreedomWorks, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. The lead co-sponsors in the House are Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Scott Garrett (R-NJ).