WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Member John Lewis (D-GA) took more action to protect law-abiding citizens and their hard-earned dollars. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Roskam and Lewis asked the Attorney General to ensure that the Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) involved in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) civil asset forfeiture abuses are held accountable to the American people.
For a year and a half, the Oversight Subcommittee has been investigating how the IRS uses its civil asset forfeiture authorities and how the Department of Justice (DOJ) handles these cases in court. Last year, the Subcommittee asked the DOJ to investigate the conduct of AUSAs who threatened victims of IRS abuse with increased penalties for exercising their First Amendment rights and who threatened to bring criminal charges against victims who resisted settling civil cases.
In the latest letter, the Subcommittee leaders asked for an update on DOJ’s investigations of those AUSAs and called the DOJ’s attention to an additional instance of an AUSA inappropriately handling a civil asset forfeiture case. As the Members wrote:
“We would like to know what the Department of Justice is doing to reprimand those attorneys and ensure that these situations never happen again.
“We are concerned that the conduct of the AUSAs in all three of these cases will discourage people who believe the government has violated their rights from seeking all remedies possible and calling misconduct to the attention of people who can hold the prosecutorial functions of the government accountable, including the press, Congress, and the courts.”
The letter follows the Subcommittee’s most recent hearing on IRS civil asset forfeiture abuse, during which Members expressed deep concern over how the government has hurt hundreds of farmers and small business owners. As the video below highlights, the Committee will not stand for the unjust treatment of hardworking Americans and will continue bipartisan efforts to hold the DOJ and IRS accountable.
Ways and Means Members on both sides of the aisle will take more action soon to protect law-abiding citizens.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter sent to Attorney General Lynch