Senators seek maximum funding for FinCEN to fight money laundering, corruption

A group of U.S. senators recently urged the appropriations committee to allocate the maximum possible funding for the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to support anti-money laundering and anti-corruption reforms.

© Shutterstock

FinCEN is a bureau within the Department of Treasury that is charged with investigating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes around the globe. The funding would be used 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.

“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,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), one of the senators who is requesting FinCEN funding, said. “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.”

The letter was sent to U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI), ranking member on the committee. It was signed by Whitehouse along with U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), 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).

“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 takedown money laundering organizations. It’s critical that FinCEN has the resources it needs to continue its important mission,” Grassley said.

The Corporate Transparency Act 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.