Reach for your blood pressure medicine before you read George Will’s latest Washington Post column about a family business being confiscated by the federal goverment:
“Since 1994, about 30 [Caswell] motel customers have been arrested on drug-dealing charges. Even if those police figures are accurate — the police have a substantial monetary incentive to exaggerate — these 30 episodes involved less than 5/100ths of 1 percent of the 125,000 rooms Caswell has rented over those more than 6,700 days. Yet this is the government’s excuse for impoverishing the Caswells by seizing this property, which is their only significant source of income and all of their retirement security.”
The rub is that local governments rely on drug-related property seizures for their budget, and the federal government is perfectly willing to help those states whose laws make property seizures difficult (by having high standards of evidence). A state need only seize the property, turn it over to the feds, and wait for a kickback of as much as eighty percent.