“The bill does not suggest that those whose assets are seized must be linked to—let alone convicted of—any crime. Rather, it states that the Biden administration shall “determine the constitutional mechanisms through which the President can take steps to seize and confiscate assets under the jurisdiction of the United States” of any foreign person on whom the president has imposed sanctions due to their links to Putin’s regime.
Nor does it require that sanctions and asset seizure be linked to corruption; political “support for” the Putin administration is enough.
Of course, in a country like Russia, where dissidence can be punished gravely, support may be a matter of (economic and sometimes literal) survival. Is it really fair for the U.S. to punish people for this?
Alas, a lot of legislators think so. The Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act passed the House by a vote of 417–8 on Thursday.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) was one of just eight “no” votes on the measure.
“This vote asked President Biden to violate the 4th Amendment, seize private property, and determine where it would go – all without due process,” AOC said in a statement. “This sets a risky new precedent in the event of future Presidents who may seek to abuse that expansion of power, especially with so many of our communities already fighting civil asset forfeiture.”
It’s a very valid concern—and the kind all too rare among lawmakers and among political partisans more broadly.”