Failure to Approve $118.2 Million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Will Hinder Ability to Target Russian Oligarchs
WASHINGTON, DC – In light of new sanctions against Russia, the FACT Coalition urged Congress to approve $118.2 million in emergency and discretionary funding this week for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“A lack of funding at the Treasury Department could seriously jeopardize U.S. efforts to track, freeze, and seize Russian oligarch assets in response to the invasion of Ukraine,” said Erica Hanichak, FACT’s government affairs director. “Congress must pass funding for the personnel and tools necessary to enforce U.S. sanctions.”
Both the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) play a critical role in collecting and analyzing the financial data necessary to administer and enforce U.S. sanctions.
In April 2021, the Biden Administration submitted a FY2022 budget request to increase discretionary funding for FinCEN by at least $64 million, and funding for TFI by at least $10.2 million. Last spring, a bipartisan group of 38 U.S. legislators sent a letter encouraging congressional appropriators to fund FinCEN at higher levels. These funds will further support the agency as it carries out several key rulemakings to identify the true owners of otherwise anonymous entities, and to strengthen U.S. anti-money laundering safeguards in the real estate sector and private investment markets. These rules would make it harder for Russian oligarchs to launder money through the U.S. financial system.
Congress is expected to consider omnibus legislation later this week and to also pass a funding bill to supplement U.S. efforts to support Ukraine against Russia’s assault. As part of this latter bill, the Biden Administration has requested that Congress provide additional funding to the Treasury Department to enforce U.S. sanctions, including an extra $19 million to FinCEN and $25 million to the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, for a total package of $118.2 million.
“If political leaders who say they want to catch oligarchs’ yachts are serious, now is the time to put their money where their mouth is,” said Hanichak. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to rein in the financial corruption that supports Russia’s war.”
Notes to the Editor:
- FACT Sheet for Congress on Treasury Funding Needs re: Ukraine Crisis.
- Biden Administration’s March 2 Emergency Ukraine Supplemental Request.
- Biden Administration’s FY2022 Discretionary Budget Request.