Ives laments overlooked heroes in civil asset forfeiture change
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) was happy to see Illnois reform civil asset forfeiture laws; she's not happy about who got the credit for it.
Ives argues that some of the groups that got the most credit for the passage of House Bill 303 never highlighted the case of former La Salle County State's Attorney Brian Towne and a law enforcement ageny seemngly out of control.
Transparency advocates asked questions about the use of money seized by Towne’s department during drug crime enforcement activities. In September, a grand jury indicted Towne on 17 counts of official misconduct and the misapplication of public funds.
“It was a huge public corruption scandal in the state of Illinois,” Ives told Illinois Valley Times, adding that the American Civil Liberties Union did not note the case in its excoriation of national law-enforcement's support of civil asset forfeiture practices that abuse civil rights. “The ACLU struts around, along with the shameless politicians, and they only propose changes without having dug up the evidence or pursued the culprits to court."
Ives also lamented the overlooking of the Edgar County Watchdogs, a grassroots group doing a lot of work on all sorts of public transparency issues, from open meetings to scandals like the one that enveloped Towne's department.
“They were pit bulls on that whole story,” Ives said. “This is the biggest case (of its kind) in the state of Illinois, and it's not getting the attention it deserves.”
A new state's attorney and some of the current officials cleaning up the mess should also get more credit, Ives said.
She also mentioned the financial impact on taxpayers.
“Now there are millions of dollars in lawsuits that they are going to have to pay back,” Ives said.