John Payne, at Americans for Forfeiture Reform, has an interesting piece titled Bizarro Robin Hood
We’ve talked here at length about the corrupting influence of asset forfeiture, and it is my belief that it is inherently wrong for any agency (especially law enforcement) to profit from the decisions that it makes. At best it creates the appearance of conflict of interest; at the worst it leads to widespread corruption (and even loss of innocent life). To the extent that any forfeited funds or assets go to any aspect of the criminal justice system that is involved in determining priorities or actually seizing assets, that needs to be changed.
Of course, we’ve heard of all the new toys purchased by police departments with forfeiture funds, and also about the widespread lack of accounting and accountability for those funds. But there are other problems that occur. The Bizarro Robin Hood story covers Sheriff Bob Hinshaw, from Sedgwick County, Kansas, who gave $10,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club.
The Boys and Girls Club is a worthy cause, but political officials should not have slush funds that they can use to buy goodwill in the community. In fact, this is a major reason why the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse and requires all appropriations bills to originate in the House of Representatives. Allowing executive agencies to control their own revenues invites corruption and endangers our republican system of government.