Report: Idaho Governor “Flips Off Libertarians” As He Vetoes Civil Asset Forfeiture Reforms


by Micah J. Fleck

Reason has reported on the governor of Idaho has vetoed not one, but two liberty-minded bills that would have ended civil asset forfeiture and re-examined licensing limitations in the state. According to the article, this amounts to flipping libertarians the bird “with both hands,” and signals a possibly direct bit of antagonism toward the libertarian principles behind said propositions.

The article argues that it is likely lobbyist money and pressure to bow to local law enforcement for political reasons that have pushed the governor, C.L. “Butch Otter, to making such anti-citizen decisions:

In a veto message, Otter said he blocked the asset forfeiture reforms because “it is my view that it is right and proper for drug dealers to have a healthy fear of losing their personal assets if they are caught breaking the law.” Overwhelming support in the state legislature is canceled out, Otter wrote, by “compelling opposition from law enforcement.”

If the cops don’t like it, he’s not gonna sign it.

And the cops don’t like limitations on asset forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize property suspected of being used in a crime and require the original owner to prove otherwise. It’s a fundamental violation of the basic premise underpinning the American criminal justice system, and there’s no shortage of examples of how police departments andprosecutors have abused asset forfeiture laws.

Don’t bring those facts to Otter’s office, though. In fact, don’t even ask Idaho’s police departments to tally-up how often they use asset forfeiture laws to rob innocent people of their property—something that the bill would have required departments to do on an annual basis.

Reasonable request, right? Nope. Otter called that reporting requirement “a misplaced effort to hold those responsible for protecting us from crime more accountable.”

Who needs accountability from the police? Certainly not Otter, who seems willing to believe anything the law enforcement special interests’ lobbyists tell him.


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