February 17, 2022

Whitehouse, Grassley, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen the U.S. Criminal Code against Money Laundering

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Combatting Money Laundering, Terrorist Finance and Counterfeiting Act of 2022. Their bipartisan legislation modernizes and strengthens criminal money laundering statutes by giving federal law enforcement the tools it needs to keep pace with emerging techniques that criminals use to conceal and transport dirty money.

“Criminal enterprises are constantly finding new ways to move their dirty money wherever they think it’ll be safe. That’s why drug traffickers, kleptocrats, and other bad actors pull elaborate tricks to stow their loot behind American rule of law,” said Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. “We need to arm law enforcement with tools to tackle new methods of money laundering and counterfeiting.”

“It is critical that we stop criminals from acquiring and trafficking illicit money, especially with the crisis at our southern border. These bad actors are constantly finding new ways to move money around like ransomware attacks using cryptocurrency, while also relying on old ways, like carrying suitcases full of cash across the border. This legislation further protects our national security which is critical to our country’s safety,” said Grassley, Co-Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

“The criminals trafficking illegal drugs across our southern border have evolved, and our laws must do the same,” said Cornyn. “This legislation equips law enforcement with the financial tools to hit the cartel’s bottom line and would critically help stop the flow of opioids like fentanyl from killing more Americans.”

“As criminals and terrorist organizations develop new methods to launder money, we must provide our law enforcement with the tools they need to keep American communities safe. This bipartisan legislation makes necessary updates to anti-money laundering statutes and counterfeiting laws, ensuring the law enforcement community can stay one step ahead of those working to undermine our nation’s safety and security,” said Klobuchar.

“As terrorists and drug traffickers become more sophisticated in how they finance crime and launder money, we must provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to confront these threats. I’m pleased to join with Senator Grassley to introduce the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Finance and Counterfeiting Act to achieve that goal,” said Feinstein.

Senator Whitehouse is a leading voice in Washington in the fight against kleptocracy and foreign corruption. He is Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and is a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (or the Helsinki Commission). Whitehouse led efforts in Congress to pass the most important anti-money laundering reform law in two decades, the Corporate Transparency Act, and the broader Anti-Money Laundering Act. Both measures address kleptocrats and criminals hiding assets from U.S. law enforcement and tax authorities.

The Combatting Money Laundering, Terrorist Finance and Counterfeiting Act of 2022 updates counterfeiting laws to prohibit state-of-the-art counterfeiting methods, increases the penalties for bulk cash smuggling, and ensures that money laundering laws apply to hawalas and other informal value transfer systems used by drug traffickers and terrorists. Other highlights of the legislation are:

  • Prohibiting the cross-border shipment of blank checks for the purpose of evading reporting requirements of monetary instruments;
  • Establishing a new money laundering violation that prohibits the transfer of funds into or out of the United States with the intent to violate U.S. income tax laws;
  • Prohibiting conspiracies to create illegal money services businesses, such as services allowing the transfer of money by wire and allowing multiple violations of laundering monetary instruments to be charged in a single count in an indictment or information;
  • Granting wiretapping authority to investigate currency reporting, bulk cash smuggling, illegal money services businesses and counterfeiting offenses; and
  • Granting the U.S. Secret Service the explicit authority to investigate ransomware crimes and other uses of unlicensed money transmitting.

This legislation is backed by the National Association of Police Organizations, National District Attorneys Association, Fraternal Order of Police, FACT Coalition and the National Sheriff’s Association.

Text of the bill can be found HERE.

Rich Davidson (202) 228-6291 (press office)

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