Op-Eds

Op-ed: How an obscure business law facilitates human trafficking in massage parlors

Someone looking to comparison shop for commercial sex at one of Utah’s 50 or so illicit massage parlors can visit an online review board and get graphic descriptions of experiences with individual women in these locations.

Meanwhile, the privacy of the people who actually own the businesses where these acts take place is scrupulously protected nationwide by U.S. law. There is a very real and tragic cost to this irony. Research shows the majority of these women are likely victims of human trafficking. Corporate secrecy makes prosecuting the traffickers and helping the women find freedom extremely difficult.

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Countering a Kleptocratic Kremlin

With every passing week we have new evidence of the threat that Vladimir Putin’s kleptocracy poses to our democracy, our national security, and the entire liberal world order. Putin’s regime—something akin to an organized crime ring masquerading as a state—has looted the wealth of Russia, subjugated its people, attacked neighboring former republics of the USSR, annexed Crimea, and hacked the electoral process in the United States and other Western democracies.

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Steps Congress can take to defend America against foreign influence operations

Last week, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster conceded that, “We have failed to impose sufficient costs… [on Russia for the Kremlin’s use of]…new and old forms of aggression to undermine our open societies.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of Russia’s Internet Research Agency and related individuals, made clear the extent of the operation attacking our country’s elections and institutions. And yet, more than a year after the 2016 presidential election, and with mid-term elections looming on the horizon, little has been done to increase America’s defenses against the threat of foreign interference in our democracy or impose costs on those who do.

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Tracking Illicit Russian Financial Flows

Trillions of dollars in capital flows into the United States annually, and trillions of dollars in payments are cleared through New York daily. No one knows exactly whom the funds belong to, where they are held, or how they are deployed. No one knows because the U.S. government does not track the money — but it could if it wanted to. What is known is that Russia, other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and China are the primary drivers of non-transparent capital flows worldwide.

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A Taxing Headache from Congress

By Gary Kalman

Just in time for tax day, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is out with a new analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It is one of the many reminders that, as we file this year, we are already thinking about next year, thanks to the recent rewrite of the nation’s tax laws.

The CBO weighed in with estimates that are worth a serious review. They looked at, among other provisions, the international corporate tax changes and attempted to answer these questions: Will the new rules stop corporations from using accounting gimmicks to shift profits offshore? Will the law stop the gaming?

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Tax Overhaul Risks Jobs, Rewards Offshore Tax Avoidance

By Clark Gascoigne

Supporters of the new tax law said the corporate cuts would lead to a $4,000 increase in the annual paychecks of ordinary Americans. Others, including those in the administration, claimed $9,000.

The bill’s now law. Raise your hand if you make $50,000 – roughly the average wage – and expect a $9,000 raise this year?

I suspect few hands went up.

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Small businesses need Congress’ help to crack down on fraud

Sometimes it feels like you have to be a superhero to build a successful small business. From performing multiple jobs to working long hours, it takes a lot of skill and strength to succeed.

One thing no small-business owner can do, however, is actually fight crime. As a result, Congress must protect small-business owners like me from fraud by requiring businesses to disclose the true identity of their owners.

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Oligarchs hide billions in shell companies. Here’s how we stop them

Two years ago we published the Panama Papers after an anonymous source provided 2.6 terabytes of internal data from the dubious Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca. We shared the data with 400 journalists worldwide and together revealed how the wealthy and powerful use shell companies to hide their assets. Such companies are exploited by dictators, drug cartels, mafia clans, fraudsters, weapons dealers and regimes like North Korea and Iran to hide their shady business transactions.

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It’s time to go after Vladimir Putin’s money in the West

Russia’s economic means are limited. Therefore, the Kremlin prefers cheap asymmetric or hybrid warfare, such as the hacking of elections, cyberwarfare, manipulation of social media and the corruption of foreign politicians. We need to respond asymmetrically, hurting the Kremlin more than it hurts us.

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