The Congressional Black Caucus Thursday issued a stern rebuke of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a possible 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, for his objections to the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as U.S. attorney general, according a statement.
In a prepared statement, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chairman of the CBC, accused Paul of using the issue of civil forfeitures to block a well-qualified federal prosecutor from heading the Department of Justice.
“The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes Senator Paul’s unfounded argument as nothing but an excuse to keep an African American legal scholar from holding this high position, and we directly call on him and Republicans to allow the nomination of Loretta Lynch to proceed to an up or down vote in the Senate,” Butterfield said in the statement.
Paul said Wednesday that he was opposing Lynch because she had said during her confirmation hearing that asset forfeiture laws are a “wonderful tool,” reports The Hill. Paul said in a statement that he considered the laws “ to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment,” the political news site notes:
Under the laws, police departments and other law enforcement agencies can keep the proceeds of properties they seize during investigations — even when they never charge the owner with a crime.
Law enforcement agencies say that it helps them stop the proceeds of crime from being returned to criminal syndicates.
Paul has proposed legislation that would strip the attorney general of the authority to run those programs at the federal level.
As covered by Forbes and other outlets last year, there have been abuses of civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize property (including cash and cars) without having to prove the owners are guilty.
While further explaining his opposition to Lynch, Paul criticized Lynch’s support for President Obama’s executive action on immigration and what he called her “non-committal” stance on the legality of drone use, the Hill notes.
President Obama nominated Lynch, U.S attorney general for the Eastern District, to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. While she has received support from key members of the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, some are using it as an opportunity to question Obama administration policies on immigration and drone use. The committee, of which Paul is not a member, is in the process of deciding whether to advance Lynch’s nomination to the floor.
But as Paul weighs a run for president in 2016, he is trying to flex his political muscle by weighing in on major issues. After his measles vaccination fail, he is now tackling Lynch. He, however, should consider his own argument that the Republican Party must better appeal to minority voters.
Opposing Lynch’s nomination is not putting the Party on the right track. Her credentials are beyond reproach, as noted by one of Paul’s colleagues, Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.). Perhaps, Paul should listen.
* Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article misstated the state that Sen. Paul represents. It is Kentucky, not Texas.