Major U.S. Businesses Endorse Ending Anonymous Companies

By Clark Gascoigne

Commercial Support for Ownership Disclosure Grows as National Foreign Trade Council Backs Incorporation Transparency

Momentum continues to build in the fight to tackle the abuse of anonymous shell companies.

Richard Sawaya, the vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents major U.S. multinational businesses, just endorsed cracking down on money laundering and anonymous shell companies in a new op-ed in The Hill regarding Russia sanctions.

While the FACT Coalition takes no position on most of the content in the op-ed, the penultimate paragraph of the article says:

“Congress should focus on… incorporating new ideas… that would crack down on Russian money laundering and shell corporations, expose the financial crimes of Putin cronies, and prevent U.S. real estate from being a haven for kleptocrat money, all without measurably hurting the U.S. economy.”

NFTC—whose’s board of directors consists of major U.S. businesses including Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Fluor, General Electric, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart—joins the entire financial services industry, the National Association of Realtors, the vast majority of small business owners, and other large companies such as Dow Chemical, Unilever, and Salesforce in pushing for incorporation transparency.

A complete list of NFTC’s board of directors can be found here.

The growing support from businesses is coupled with widespread support from other parts of society.  Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently called on Congress to pass legislation tackling anonymous shell companies within the next six months, two dozen state attorneys general sent a bipartisan letter to Congress last week urging lawmakers to end the incorporation of anonymous companies, and, in June, the Delaware Secretary of State endorsed efforts to require companies to disclose their ownership at the time of formation.

These landmarks are paired with widespread support for transparency from police and prosecutorsnational security officialsanti-human trafficking groupsanti-corruption organizationspeople of faith, and scholars from across the political spectrum.

It’s time for policymakers to listen and protect Americans from the threats that are enabled by anonymous shell companies.  It’s time to put an end to the incorporation of anonymous businesses in the United States.

Clark Gascoigne is the deputy director of the FACT Coalition.