The American Civil Liberties Union pushed to slow bipartisan legislation earlier this week that sought to liquidate assets of Russian oligarchs who have attained immense wealth under Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The original Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would have permitted the Biden administration to confiscate and sell the property of pro-Kremlin Russian oligarchs if valued at over $5 million, after which the proceeds would be transferred over to Ukraine.
"It would be fitting and right to use the wealth that supported Putin's regime to rebuild the country Putin is destroying," said co-sponsorr Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., in a statement.
"The Ukrainian people should see the boats, planes, and villas of Putin's enablers being seized and sold, and they should know that the proceeds will help their country and cause."
The civil rights group argued otherwise, criticizing the bill as unconstitutional for ignoring due-process protections.
"This bill was so unconstitutional that it raised the prospect that a sanctioned Russian national could win in an American court, which likely would have struck down both the statute and the sanction as being unconstitutional," said ACLU federal policy director Chris Anders, according to the Post.
After the ACLU made its grievances known, the bill was ordered to be amended on Tuesday before returning to the House for a second vote, according to The Hill.
"Those who have accumulated great wealth and influence under Vladimir Putin and off the backs of the Russian people should not be able to hide their assets in the United States while Putin commits atrocities against the Ukrainian people," said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the other proposer of the bill.
"Putin has chosen mafia rule, and the global community must respond accordingly."
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