Rand Paul Won't Back Loretta Lynch For Attorney General

Huffington Post: Politics

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he won't vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general because of her support for laws allowing civil forfeiture of property.

"Civil forfeiture turns justice on its head," Paul told Greta Van Susteren during an interview on the Fox News show "On The Record." "Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, you are guilty until proven innocent. The government takes your cash -- $1,000, $100, $500, whatever it is. This program predominantly has targeted black individuals, poor individuals, Hispanic individuals. And when Sen. [Mike] Lee asked her about it in the committee, she said, 'Oh, no, as long as there is a valid court order.'"

Asset forfeiture laws allow authorities to seize property without an indictment or evidence that crime has occurred. Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced reforms to the controversial program.

During her confirmation hearing last week, Lynch expressed support for the practice.

"I believe that civil and criminal forfeiture are important tools to the Department of Justice, as well as our state and local counterparts through state laws, in essentially managing or taking care of the first order of business, which it to take the profit out of criminal activity," Lynch said.

The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Lynch's office had taken $113 million in civil actions from 2011 to 2013. Last month, Lynch's office agreed to return $447,000 to a family-run business after it failed to charge the business with a crime after two years.

Paul, who has introduced legislation to rein in the civil forfeiture program, said that he hoped Lynch would show more concern for those wronged by civil forfeiture laws.

"I wish she had a little more concern for people who live in poverty before taking their stuff," Paul said.

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