May 21, 2009
Exporting Corruption
By James Wilson

Media Alert: Downsize DC President Jim Babka will appear on the Liberty Roundtable this Friday. See the details below my signature.

Quote of the Day "The thing that gets me is we don't learn a thing from history. We want our institutions to be pure and not corrupt, but yet we do the things we know is going to corrupt them." Chief Jerry Cameron, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Subject: Exporting corruption

Last month, a South Tucson, AZ, cop who ran his department's asset forfeiture program was convicted of stealing over $560,000 from it.

This month, the cop who handles asset forfeiture funds in Spring Lake, NC, was arrested for stealing $2,900. Another cop was arrested for having seized the money in a hotel room under false pretenses.

Will these arrests "fix" asset forfeiture, or will corrupt cops simply learn that it's safer to pocket some of the money they seize before it's officially counted? Retired police captain Peter Christ of L.E.A.P. suggests this is already common.  

Under civil asset forfeiture, police can seize money or property upon "probable cause" that it was connected to a crime. The onus then falls on the owner to prove innocence. Police departments use the proceeds to help fund their budgets.

"Probable cause" can include the mere fact of carrying a large amount of cash, or a police dog's sniff of drug residue on your property. One may have a legitimate reason for carrying the cash, and the residue may have been left over from the previous owner. It doesn't matter. The police can seize your property to enrich their departments, and it's often too risky and expensive for you to fight for its return.

Civil asset forfeiture breeds corruption. It's immoral and unconstitutional. But instead of abolishing it, the U.S. is exporting it...

The supposed reason to promote asset forfeiture abroad is to "fight corruption." But giving law enforcement the arbitrary power to seize personal property is like combating ignorance by censoring newspapers, or strengthening democracy by arresting opposition leaders.

Civil asset forfeiture is inherently corrupt and it may be about to get worse...

  • It's long been assumed that as a recession leads to budget crunches, police tend to write more speeding tickets for the revenue. There's now solid evidence to demonstrate this.
  • We can surmise then that police will also increase searches, raids, and seizures to generate more revenue.

Please use our Educate the Powerful System to tell your Congressional employees to end asset forfeiture.

Use your personal comments to tell them that . . .

  • Asset forfeiture is abusive, corrupt, and unconstitutional
  • You're appalled that the U.S. is forcing Mexico to adopt it.
  • And equally appalled that the World Bank and U.N. are using money from U.S. taxpayers to spread asset forfeiture worldwide. Tell them you do not consent to having your tax dollars used this way.

Our goal this month is to pound Congress with more than 31,730 messages. That means we must hit Congress with 1,371 messages today.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. To see how much we're growing please check out the Keeping Score after the Media Alert below.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President, Inc.

MEDIA ALERT: On Friday, May 22, Downsize DC President Jim Babka will be making his monthly appearance on Liberty Roundtable w/ Sam Bushman & Friends just after 10 AM Eastern (9 AM Central, 8 AM Mountain, 7 AM Pacific).

The show is heard on several stations, but the best way to listen is online at


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