Washington Post: Congress can help in the anti-corruption fight

This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Washington Post. You can access it here.

Regarding the Dec. 13 editorial “Pursuing kleptocrats”:

As I recently testified before Congress, the agency responsible for safeguarding U.S. financial markets from illicit financial flows, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is grossly underfunded given the scale of the fight. As the Biden administration gets serious about its anti-corruption agenda, Congress must get down to business by appropriating funds for FinCEN.

study by Global Financial Integrity shows that nearly $1 trillion in illicit funds moves annually through the United States, the world’s largest economy. Yet FinCEN staffing and resources pale in comparison with other countries with smaller financial centers. 

Congress should approve a budget that meets the administration’s request to increase FinCEN’s resources to $191 million to enable the agency to minimize the U.S. role in global corruption, both by modernizing the U.S. anti-money laundering framework and by implementing the landmark Corporate Transparency Act.  

The Biden administration has an ambitious and necessary agenda capable of attracting bipartisan support to deny a financial haven to kleptocrats and criminals hoping to stash their ill-gotten gains in the United States. Congress should empower the anti-corruption fight by appropriating the necessary resources to deliver on these anti-money laundering reforms.