No matter your political party or background, the government should protect you, not steal from you.
Under Congressman Peter Roskam’s leadership, House Democrats and Republicans worked together in a big way to preserve this foundational principle.
For years, the IRS has had wide latitude to seize the bank accounts of individual Americans and small business owners who it suspects are moving large amounts of money in segments to avoid scrutiny, a practice known as “structuring.”
The IRS says it uses this tool, “civil asset forfeiture,” to gather evidence for an associated criminal prosecution. The problem? In many of these cases, the individuals have not committed any crime and no charges are ever brought.
You’d think these innocent Americans would get their money back, right? Wrong.
Congressman Roskam was astonished to learn that everyday, law-abiding Americans have been victims of this IRS abuse.
Roskam applied the pressure of his Oversight Subcommittee, convening hearings and uniting his fellow Democratic and Republican members to right this wrong. The IRS eventually committed to reforming its policy and reaching out to Americans, to return their stolen money.
That wasn’t enough for Congressman Roskam. In order to safeguard Americans in the future, he determined these protections need to be in law.
Last year, Roskam introduced the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers Respect Act, putting clear constraints on civil asset forfeiture to prevent the IRS from stealing from innocent Americans ever again. The bill passed the House unanimously last year, and Roskam is confident it will pass the Senate and garner the President’s signature later this year.
Thanks to Roskam’s leadership and ability to rally both sides of the aisle, Congress is close to turning the page on this disgraceful practice.