Grassley-Feinstein-Cornyn-Whitehouse legislation hits criminals in the wallet
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, along with Senators John Cornyn and Sheldon Whitehouse, today introduced legislation that modernizes and strengthens criminal laws against money laundering – a critical source of funding for terrorist organizations, drug cartels and other organized crime syndicates. The
Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017 updates criminal money laundering and counterfeiting statutes, and promotes transparency in the U.S. financial system.
“Terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and other criminals are actively looking to exploit and harm Americans, whether by attacking our way of life, flooding our country with highly addictive drugs, or defrauding unknowing victims. The recent terrorist attack in the United Kingdom is the latest somber example of how real these threats are to our country and its allies. We must continue to fight them on every front, and that includes going after the profits of crime that are also used to fuel the ongoing activity of these diabolical enterprises. Our bill updates our money laundering laws for the 21st Century,” Grassley said.
“Terrorist groups like ISIL and other transnational criminal organizations wouldn’t be able to finance their activities without illegal funds. Blocking these funds is an effective way to disrupt these organizations and prevent crime and terrorism. Our bill adopts many of the recommendations made by the Justice Department to ensure that transnational criminal organizations, including terrorist groups, face consequences for laundering illicit funds, evading laws and promoting criminal activity,” Feinstein said.
“We’re living in a time where the threats from our enemies are constantly evolving and it’s not enough to fight terrorism and crime in a reactionary manner. To protect our country and Americans, we must aggressively and proactively go after their funding streams, and by strengthening our money laundering laws, we can help curb the illegal flow of money to terrorists organizations, drug cartels, and crime organizations that fund their illicit activity,” Cornyn said.
“One of the best ways to track crime and serious threats to our country is to follow the money. That’s why we need to crack down on the range of tricks criminals and terrorists can use to launder their dirty money to sustain their illegal enterprises. I’m glad to join this bipartisan bill to bring our money laundering laws up to date,” Whitehouse said.
Money laundering is a common practice used by terrorist organizations, transnational drug cartels, and other criminals to disguise profits from or financing for illicit activity. While calculating the exact scale of worldwide money laundering is impossible, estimates suggest the annual sum to be in the trillions of dollars. Perpetrators use a variety of methods to conceal and move funds across borders and through the global financial system in an effort to evade law enforcement. These techniques include longstanding unofficial money transferring systems, such as hawalas, and more modern tools, like prepaid access cards and digital currencies.
The Senators’ legislation modernizes criminal money laundering laws, updates counterfeiting statutes to prohibit state of the art counterfeiting methods, enhances tools to crack down on smugglers and tax cheats, and promotes transparency in the U.S. financial system.