Josh Schopf

About Josh Schopf

Joshua N. Schopf is a Counsel at Cause of Action Institute

Cause of Action Renews Request for Review of Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Program

By: Josh Schopf

Cause of Action today sent a letter to the Inspector General for the Department of Justice (DOJ IG), renewing its request for an investigation of DOJ’s asset forfeiture program. In response to a prior letter from Cause of Action, the DOJ IG announced in January 2015 that it was conducting a review of its asset seizure activities. This review, however, does not examine administrative seizures, or the civil liberties threats that result from such seizures, even though administrative seizures comprise the majority of adoptions.

Cause of Action also demanded an immediate investigation of Desert Snow, LLC, an approved federal contractor involved in asset seizure and training activities. Specifically, Desert Snow’s founders created a program known as Black Asphalt, which was used for a government-run license-plate tracking system, and enabled more than 25,000 officers and federal authorities throughout the country to share reports about American motorists, many of whom had not been charged with any crimes. The purported goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the DEA, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to help combat drug trafficking. But the breadth of the program has expanded, and is now being used in connection with potential crimes and is being accessed by numerous state and local law-enforcement agencies. Congress has questioned license-plate tracking systems and other surveillance programs, but reports indicate that the program continues to expand, and that Desert Snow continues to receive federal funds, including from DOJ.

Cause of Action is asking the DOJ IG to investigate Asset Forfeiture Program contractors and systems, including but not limited to, Desert Snow, Black Asphalt, and license plate tracking systems.