FACT Coalition Applauds Inclusion of Bipartisan Legislation Regulating Certain Financial “Enablers” in Defense Bill
Washington, D.C. – The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition applauds the House Armed Services Committee for voting today to include the ENABLERS Act in the House version of the annual defense bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (the NDAA).
“The advancement of the ENABLERS Act on a bipartisan basis answers FACT’s repeated calls for Congress to address the role of certain professional enablers who help kleptocrats and criminals hide their wealth in the U.S.,” said Ian Gary, Executive Director of the FACT Coalition. “With the invasion of Ukraine and the spotlight on problematic Russian cash in the West, we can no longer ignore this gaping blindspot in the U.S. anti-money laundering regime.”
Contrary to international best practice recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the United States is currently behind in requiring actors like transactional attorneys and trust service providers, among others, to conduct even the most basic forms of customer due diligence. The “Establishing New Authorities for Businesses Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security” or ENABLERS Act would require certain professional service providers that are best positioned to act as gatekeepers to the U.S. financial system to adopt common sense anti-money laundering procedures that can help detect, flag, and prevent the laundering of corrupt and other criminal funds into the United States.
“As Treasury Secretary Yellen said last year, the U.S. is ‘the best place to hide and launder ill-gotten gains’. Criminals, kleptocrats and corrupt actors need U.S. professional enablers to help them navigate our rules,” said Gary. “It’s time for these enablers to be on the front lines of the fight for more transparent and open markets, and democracy around the globe.”
The FACT Coalition urges the inclusion of the bipartisan ENABLERS Act in the final House and Senate versions of the defense spending bill later this year followed by speedy implementation by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN is also currently working to implement other crucial anti-money laundering reforms, including regulations to stop the abuse of anonymous shell entities as well as to bring greater transparency to real estate transactions. The FACT Coalition is urging Congress to appropriate additional resources for U.S. financial crime fighters.
“This is an important step toward protecting our national security by addressing the role of those professional enablers who aid corrupt and criminal actors,” said Gary. “We look forward to working with the ENABLERS Act’s bipartisan champions to enshrine the bill into law, and to show that Congress can do its part to signal to the world that the U.S. is no longer in the business of implicitly blessing global corruption.”
Notes to the Editor:
- In May, the United States was ranked as the largest supplier of financial secrecy in the World according to the 2022 Financial Secrecy Index from the Tax Justice Network. The failure to regulate certain enabler professions contributed to this ranking.
- Prior FACT calls for regulating certain professional enablers can be found here and here.
- The first ever White House Strategy on Countering Corruption, which commits to working with Congress to advance legislation to regulate certain gatekeeping professionals can be found here.
- Last week the FACT Coalition submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Appropriations calling for increased funding for FinCEN.
- Financial Action Task Force Recommendations on Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation can be found here.