Press Releases & Statements

House Adds Measure Ending Anonymous Companies to Annual Defense Bill

Bipartisan Vote Triggers Bicameral Negotiations on Key Corporate Disclosure and Anti-Money Laundering Reforms

Statement by Clark Gascoigne, Interim Executive Director of the FACT Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. House of Representatives voted 336-71 on Monday to attach a major measure updating federal anti-money laundering laws and ending the incorporation of anonymous companies in the U.S. to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395).

The bipartisan vote attaching the Corporate Transparency Act and COUNTER Act (Floor Amendment #1 / Rules Amendment #499) to the must-pass defense legislation triggers negotiations in the coming months with the U.S. Senate, where the Chairman and Ranking Member of the relevant Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs recently reached agreement on similar legislation to curb the abuse of anonymous companies.

Clark Gascoigne, interim executive director of the FACT Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Congress is now on track to enact historic reforms to protect our financial system from abuse.

“It has been decades since our nation’s anti-money laundering laws were updated.  Over time, rogue nations, criminals, and kleptocrats have developed ever more sophisticated networks, but national security and law enforcement officials are currently working with outdated and insufficient tools to counter the emerging threats.  As financial crimes accelerate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we address this critical vulnerability to our financial system.

“Experts routinely rank anonymous shell companies as the biggest weakness in our anti-money laundering safeguards.  Virtually every national security and law enforcement official that has looked at the issue has called for an end to anonymous companies.  It’s the single most important change Congress could make to better protect our financial system from abuse. Today’s vote is a major step toward addressing this serious national security vulnerability.

“The House of Representatives has now voted twice to end anonymous companies and update our anti-money laundering laws; the top Republican and Democrat on the key Senate Banking Committee agreed on similar legislation last month; and the White House has indicated that these reforms are a priority for them this year. 

“After more than a decade of debate and inaction in Washington to bring anti-money laundering protections into the modern era, 2020 now presents an historic opportunity to improve our anti-money laundering rules, better protect local communities and companies from the harms caused by criminal and corrupt activity, and ensure the integrity of our financial system.

“We applaud Representatives Maloney, King, Cleaver, Waltz, Malinowski, and Waters for their leadership on this amendment. We now look forward to working with House and Senate leaders in the Conference Committee to push these critical reforms across the finish line.”


Notes to Editors: