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Articles Tagged with Department of Justice

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pexels-krisztian-kormos-3526039-300x200President Biden’s new nominee for Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta, is under scrutiny by Senate Republicans. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have called for her to undergo a second hearing before letting her appointment advance due to various concerns, including some surrounding civil asset forfeiture.

The reason for the pause in deliberations of Ms. Gupta’s appointment is her alleged misleading answers to committee questions on her advocacies. According to the Republican senators, she was dishonest in her “support for eliminating qualified immunity, her support for decriminalizing all drugs, her support for defunding the police, and her death penalty record” as well as civil asset forfeiture.

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sebastian-pichler-bAQH53VquTc-unsplash-300x200The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement of its civil forfeiture case against Khadem al-Qubaisi, an Emirati businessman who allegedly misappropriated billions from a Malaysian investment development fund and laundered the money in the U.S. by buying high-end properties.

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is an investment development fund created by the Malaysian government to promote economic development in Malaysia through direct foreign investments and international partnerships. Its funds were intended to be used for improving the lives of the Malaysian people.

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justice-2060093_1920-300x200Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned effective immediately. His Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, has been named as acting attorney general in his place. The AG, a champion of civil asset forfeiture—he reinstated a federal forfeiture program that had been restricted by Eric Holder, his predecessor. Without the attorney at the Department of Justice (DOJ), there is uncertainty over the future of this program.

The AG faced bipartisan opposition for his championing of civil asset forfeiture. “I’m amazed these people don’t get it. We had a reform in early 2001… relieved some of the concerns from our libertarians,” said the attorney general in 2017. The Obama administration, he continued, “actually curtailed this program for the last several years, but we’re going to keep it out there. And as long as we can, we will be doing it.”
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In April, Sheriff Butch Conway of Gwinnett County, Georgia, bought a new car for his commute to work. The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is completely black and has tinted windows and black wheels. There’s no question: it looks super-cool. With a 707-horsepower engine, the Hellcat is said to be the fastest sedan ever to be made. It cost $69,258.

The problem? The sheriff purchased it through his office using proceeds from civil asset forfeiture.
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The Department of Justice has suspended the federal civil asset forfeiture program in Palmview, Texas while it investigates potential misappropriation of funds.

Palmview, a town of 5,500 people, received about $47,000 in funds in 2017 from the DOJ’s Equitable Sharing Program. This is a tiny amount compared to fund received by larger cities in the state. Last year, law enforcement agencies across Texas received $29 million from the program. These funds, however, are at the core of the city’s corruption investigation.
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