Clark Neily thought he had seen government at its worst.
Then he started working on civil forfeiture cases.
Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, sits down with Eric Boehm on this week's edition of the Watchdog Podcast. They discuss the recent civil forfeiture case involving Eh Wah, a Texan who had $50,000 seized by Oklahoma police in February of this year. When the case made national headlines this week, the police quickly reversed course and returned the money they had taken from Wah.
The case highlights some of the absurdities of civil forfeiture. Wah was never charged with a crime, and no drugs were found when police searched his car. But under the often-abused rules that govern civil forfeiture, the police were able to take his money anyway -- and when that happens, it up to the victim to prove their innocence.
Neily and Boehm also discuss ongoing state-level efforts to roll back restrictive occupational licensing laws, a major theme of this week's National Economic Liberty Forum, an event organized by the Institute for Justice.
All that, plus a look at the Nanny State of the Week and the Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
After a big win in New York, presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton turn their attention to Pennsylvania and other northeastern states that hold their primary elections on Tuesday.
Pennsylvania is probably the most important of the bunch -- Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Bill Clinton all campaigned in the state this week.
Host Eric Boehm and special guest Nathan Benefield from the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation sit down to discuss the keys to the Keystone State. Can Trump win again or will Cruz be able to use the state's odd delegate rules to his favor, as he has done in other places. There are elements of the state's electorate that will give each Republican candidate reason to believe he can win there.
And with Republicans gaining more voters in recent years, is there anything that could turn Pennsylvania (which has backed every Democratic presidential candidate since 1988) into a red state in November?
Then, why is the EPA cracking down on amateur car racing in Texas and elsewhere?
All that, plus the Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
Since the passage of anti-LGBT laws (or "religious freedom laws," if you prefer) in Mississippi and North Carolina, a number of other states have banned government travel to those places.
The bans are symbolic, but do they actually serve a purpose?
Watchdog's Bruce Parker joins Eric Boehm on this week's edition of the podcast to discuss the travel bans and their apparently uselessness. Vermont is one of four states to ban officials from traveling to Mississippi since the state passed its religious freedom law last month.
It's probably not going to hurt Mississippi all that much: Vermont spent a mere $500 on travel to the state last year.
To the extent that these bans have any impact at all, they will hurt small businesses -- not the state's bottom line.
Then, Todd Gaziano sits down to chat about the Pacific Legal Foundation's fight against the EPA's latest overreach. Gaziano is the executive director of the PLF's Washington, D.C., office, where attorneys recently had oral arguments before the SCOTUS in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers V. Hawkes case. The case will determine whether Americans have the right to appeal to a court when the EPA issues a wetlands determination.
All that, plus the Nanny State of the Week and our Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
Is Wisconsin the beginning of the end for Donald Trump's presidential ambitions? Or was the Badger State just a bump in the road?
Only time will tell, but one thing is clear: Trump got thumped in Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Ted Cruz won 48 percent of the vote and collected 36 of the state's 42 GOP delegates, leaving just six for The Donald.
Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle take stock of Cruz' victory in Wisconsin and look ahead to the next big primary in New York. A win there for Trump could erase the bad loss in Wisconsin, but it is now looking less and less likely that anyone will head to the Republican convention with a majority of the delegates.
Then, Kittle and Boehm discuss Merrick Garland, the man selected by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Though Garland is positioned as a moderate who has sided with conservatives and liberals at different times during his judicial tenure, he might be better described as an authoritarian. As A. Barton Hinkle wrote this week in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Garland has a long record of siding with the government when he's been asked to rule on contentious issues. It's a record that should concern anyone who is interested in small government, civil liberties or gun rights.
All that, plus a look at civil asset forfeiture in Texas and our Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.