Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2015
Loveless applauds congressional support of forfeiture reform measure
– Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, today reacted to the Oklahoma
congressional delegation’s support of the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration
Act (FAIR Act) — legislation aimed at reforming civil asset forfeiture laws at
the federal level.
“I am pleased that our congressional delegation is standing up and co-sponsoring
this important measure,” said Loveless. “Legislators across the country have
been working to reform civil asset forfeiture laws, but meaningful reform can’t
happen until the federal government fixes things on their end.”
Under current law, local agencies can team up with federal law enforcement in a
program known as equitable sharing where local authorities receive up to 80
percent of proceeds from seized property. This equitable sharing program can be
used as a loophole to undermine state and local reform measures.
Loveless recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Oklahoma lawmakers
to discuss this issue.
“Federal reform is needed and I’m thankful that our delegation is sending a
clear message to the rest of the country that Oklahoma won’t continue to support
this unconstitutional practice,” said Loveless.
Rep. Tim Walberg, R-MI-07, the author
of the bill said: “Seizing the property of Americans without charging them with
a crime has no place in a country founded on the principles of due process and
private property. I'm grateful to my colleagues from Oklahoma for joining our
bipartisan effort to reform America's civil asset forfeiture laws and protect
the constitutional rights of our citizens.”
The FAIR Act, introduced at the beginning of this Congress has received
bipartisan support and is awaiting committee action.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-OK-04 said: “Our nation’s
constitution clearly extends and ensures protections for Americans and their
property. I am pleased to co-sponsor the FAIR Act because it upholds and
strengthens these foundational American rights. No American should live in fear
that the federal government could prematurely seize property without cause
besides suspicion of a crime, rather than an actual conviction or charge.”
Civil asset forfeiture became a common practice during the War on Drugs, but
recently has become more prevalent during the economic downturn. Many law
enforcement agencies abuse forfeiture funds to supplement dwindling budgets.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-OK-03 said:
“Property ownership is a significant tenet of the American dream, one that
should be aggressively protected under the law. The FAIR Act honors our nation’s
longstanding tradition of due process by placing a greater burden of proof on
the government to justify any seizure of property. I’m proud to support this
legislation to strengthen and clarify legal protections for those unfairly
targeted by civil forfeiture.”
Loveless earlier this year introduced SB 838 aimed at reforming Oklahoma’s
forfeiture laws. This bill is similar to the FAIR Act and other legislation
being introduced across the county.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-OK-01 said: “The
Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is clear: No American shall be
'deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.' Civil asset
forfeiture programs often take property without due process. I strongly support
HR 540, the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, and federal legislation
to stop unconstitutional property taking. I applaud Oklahoma State Senator Kyle
Loveless for offering similar legislation at the state level.”
Oklahoma’s forfeiture laws were given a grade of D- in a recently released
report published by Freedom Works. This follows a 2010 Institute for Justice
report assigning Oklahoma a grade of D.
Rep. Steve Russell, R-OK-05 said: “HR
540, the FAIR Act, is important because it harkens back to the 5th amendment of
the Constitution to increase the burden of proof by the federal government as no
citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law. Anytime we can rein our laws back in closer to what our founders intended,
it is a good thing for the people of Oklahoma and all of the citizens of the
For more information, contact:
Loveless: 405-521-5618 or