Whitehouse, Grassley Lead Senators in Call to Fully Fund FinCEN’s Anti-Money Laundering Operations
Funds would empower FinCEN to trace dirty money behind international criminals, drug traffickers, terrorists, and kleptocrats
Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have sent Senate appropriators a bipartisan request for the maximum possible funding for the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to support implementation and enforcement of key anti-money laundering and anti-corruption reforms.
“Senator Grassley and I fought for years for new authority to tackle money laundering by international criminals, drug traffickers, terrorists, and kleptocrats. That work led to the 2021 defense bill, where we passed into law powerful new tools to trace dirty money through complicated financial schemes and hold those responsible to account,” said Whitehouse. “Now, we can put our new authority to work with funding that empowers FinCEN to go after kleptocrats, drug traffickers, and other bad actors around the globe. That will be a huge win for the rule of law.”
“FinCEN is at the tip of the spear in detecting financial schemes that fuel all kinds of illicit activity, from drug trafficking and human exploitation to terrorism. Senator Whitehouse and I have worked for years to beef up our ability to follow the money and take down money laundering organizations. It’s critical that FinCEN has the resources it needs to continue its important mission,” Grassley said.
FinCEN is the bureau within the Department charged with cracking down on money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes around the globe. The senators call for funding to help FinCEN deploy new authority under the Corporate Transparency Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 to root out transnational criminals, drug cartels, terrorists, and authoritarian oligarchs — like Vladimir Putin and his corrupt cronies. Whitehouse and Grassley were among those who led passage of those bills.
Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act – a version of which Whitehouse and Grassley originally introduced as the TITLE Act – to combat kleptocracy by clamping down on criminals and foreign enemies hiding assets from law enforcement and tax authorities. The legislation requires FinCEN to obtain information on the true owners of corporations and LLCs formed within the United States, and to set up a database to help law enforcement and national security officials access that information when necessary. Its passage marked the culmination of a years-long effort to combat money laundering, international corruption, and kleptocracy.
Today, the Tax Justice Network’s 2022 Financial Secrecy Index ranked the United States as the world’s top provider of financial secrecy, adding urgency to FinCEN’s implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act.
Joining Whitehouse and Grassley’s letter are Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Todd Young (R-IN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Full text of the Senators’ letter is below. A PDF is available here.
Dear Chairman Van Hollen and Ranking Member Hyde-Smith:
We respectfully request as much funding as possible in our current budgetary situation for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to support implementation and enforcement of the anti-money laundering and anti-corruption reforms enacted as part of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Money laundering tactics range from the simplicity of smuggling bundles of cash across the border to more complex methods involving shell companies, international trade, and high-end real estate. FinCEN should have the tools it needs to combat more sophisticated methods of money laundering.
Specifically, Congress included the bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) and the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA) in the 2021 NDAA. The CTA requires certain companies to provide beneficial ownership information to FinCEN so that authorized users, including law enforcement and national security officials, and financial institutions with customer consent, can better detect and prevent money laundering through U.S. shell companies. The AMLA modernizes and streamlines a broad range of our statutory anti-money laundering rules and enhances consultation and coordination with industry, law enforcement, and other stakeholders. Together, the CTA and AMLA will significantly enhance our efforts to combat money laundering, and will help bring the United States into compliance with international Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism standards. Without full funding to enforce these laws, transnational criminals, drug cartels, terrorists, and authoritarian oligarchs stand better chances of maintaining their operations and avoiding justice. We respectfully request that you provide appropriations to fund implementation of these critical programs.
Rich Davidson (Whitehouse), 202-228-6291
Taylor Foy (Grassley), 202-224-6708
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