Over at the Americans for Forfeiture Reform blog, AFR policy analyst Scott Meiner reports:
Attorney General Eric Holder has granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) authority, for a one-year trial period, to seize and administratively forfeit property allegedly involved in controlled substance offenses pursuant to United States Code Title 21 › Chapter 13 › Subchapter I › Part E › § 881.
21 U.S.C. § 881 is, among other things, often invoked to seize and forfeit bulk currency, where no drugs are found, on theories that the currency was furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance.
AG Holder’s rulemaking announcement declared that such changes are exempt from the general notice and comment requirements because the department determined that the change does not affect individual rights and obligations.
AG Holder also declared that this rule change lacks sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.
Notice and comment rulemaking is not required for this final rule. Under the APA, “rules of agency organization, procedure or practice,”5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), that do not “affect individual rights and obligations,”Morton v. Ruiz, 415 U.S. 199, 232 (1974), are exempt from the general notice and comment requirements of section 553 of title 5 of the United States Code.