A bipartisan group of members on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee have come together to call for repayments to victims of civil asset forfeiture. Earlier this week, nine of the eleven members of the Subcommittee signed onto a letter to Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury, calling for repayments to a family of dairy farmers and others similarly situated.
Randy and Karen Sowers, dairy farmers in Maryland, had $67,000 seized from their farm’s account by the IRS. The IRS accused them of structuring their bank deposits to avoid extra paperwork, although they never charged the couple with a crime. Structuring is a term used when an individual makes a number of deposits to the bank under the $10,000 threshold that triggers reporting requirements.
Although the Sowers maintained their innocence, they agreed to forfeit $29,500 to the federal government because they needed the rest of the funds to run their dairy farm.
The Sowers were part of a hearing before the Subcommittee on February 11, 2015, that called into question the IRS’s use of civil asset forfeiture in structuring cases. This hearing was necessary because what happened to the Sowers was not an isolated case, just ask Terry Dehko, Lyndon McLellan and Carole Hinders.
Outcry from cases like these convinced the IRS to change their policy last October and the Department of Justice followed suit months later. These changes did nothing to help those that had already had their assets seized by the government.
“That policy change, however, came…