Happy Tax Day! Post-9/11 Police State Attacks Maryland Dairy Farmer
Since we're busily importing Muslim "refugees" by the boatload into places like Minneapolis and Buffalo and Lewiston, Me., can we declare the "War on Terror" over and stop terrorizing our own real-American citizens? Or is that too much to ask of the bullying bureaucrats of the Bush-Obama administrations?
Randy Sowers always expected the government to show up one day and ask where all the cash he was depositing at his bank came from. He thought he had the right answer: from his business selling eggs and milk at farmers markets.
But under a federal law designed to target money laundering, Sowers and his Maryland dairy farm lost a big chunk of that income — $29,500 — to the government. Three years later, he hasn’t gotten any of it back and almost certainly never will. In the court of public opinion, however, South Mountain Creamery has become a potent symbol for the movement against civil asset forfeiture. Sowers’s case is perfect for libertarians trying to stir up opposition to government seizures of cash. It appeals to conservatives, liberals and anyone who likes baby cows.
And who doesn't love baby cows? The feds, that's who:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stefan Cassella, who handled the case, helped draft Justice Department asset-forfeiture policy and launched an entire forfeiture unit in Maryland. Cassella quite literally wrote the book on goverment seizures: “Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States, 2nd Edition.” The single review on Amazon gives the book one star and asks, “How do you sleep at night?”
Sowers was not accused of money laundering or attempting to hide illegal profits. Federal agents who showed up at his farm in February 2012 told him that they thought he was an honest businessman. But he had run afoul of federal law requiring banks to report deposits of more than $10,000 and making it a crime to evade the reporting requirement by “structuring” cash into smaller amounts.
The law is aimed at fighting money laundering, terrorism financing, tax evasion and other fraud, and its use against small businesses has become a target for critics of government overreach.
That's what the law is aimed at -- of course, what it actually hits are people like the Sowerses. When you will not fight an enemy frankly bent on your destruction, then it's almost inevitable that you will turn on the people you are supposed to protect. After all, all that federal power has to go somewhere, doesn't it?
Based on Freedom of Information Act requests, the libertarian Institute for Justice has reported that the Internal Revenue Service has seized almost a quarter-billion dollars in such cases from 2005 to 2012, about half of which was never returned. A third of those cases, like the Sowers case, did not involve allegations of criminal activity beyond the structured deposits themselves.
Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, said he has told the Sowers story to senior citizens in his suburban Chicago district — and watched as their jaws dropped. “This is not a meth lab,” he said. “This is not a mafia front group. There’s no drug ring. These are people who have been in the dairy business a long time.”
Read the whole thing and prepare to have your blood boiled. Three felonies a day... think of that while you file your taxes today.