Jun 11 2021
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) along with Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and John Curtis (R-UT), introduced the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act of 2021. The legislation directs the U.S. Department of Justice to publish and update the amount of money that has been stolen by the authoritarian leaders of kleptocratic regimes and recovered by U.S. law enforcement. This straightforward measure would demonstrate America’s clear commitment to the rule of law around the world and send a powerful message to those suffering under kleptocracies that the United States stands on their side.
Joining Rubio and Blumenthal in introducing this bill were Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Katie Porter (D-CA), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).
“I’m proud to join Senator Blumenthal in introducing this bipartisan and bicameral bill which will shine a light on the money stolen by corrupt regimes worldwide,” Rubio said. “From Maduro and Castro to Xi Jinping and Putin, this bill will facilitate accountability by exposing the illegal assets of foreign corrupt officials recovered by U.S. law enforcement.”
“This bill is a step towards accountability and justice against corrupt authoritarian regimes,” Blumenthal said. “Around the world, oppressed citizens have been silenced as they live under the reign of brutal leaders, threatening their livelihood and survival. In giving a voice to the voiceless and exposing thievery from foreign corruption, the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act will reaffirm the United States as a champion for democracy and the rule of law.”
“We must remember that the number one victims of the Putin regime are the Russian people. Corrupt officials raid pension funds and state coffers and then live the high-life on their tax dollars. We see this pattern in every dictatorship,” Congressman Malinowski said. “In support of President Biden’s new anti-corruption plan, this bill will hold corrupt leaders like Putin accountable by making public exactly how much of their stolen money has been recovered by the United States and from whom it was stolen.”
“The illegitimate ruler Nicolas Maduro violates the human rights and dignity of Venezuela’s citizens while enriching himself at the expense of his people, all while driving his nation into economic ruin with his disastrous policies. Similarly, Vladimir Putin suppresses those fighting for democracy while those in his inner circle are financially prospering by stealing from the Russian people,” Congressman Curtis said. “The Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act would shine a light on the extent of corruption against the people of Venezuela, Russia, and all those oppressed by corrupt authoritarians.”
“Autocrats in Russia, North Korea, and across the globe cling to power through brute force and blatant theft,” Congressman Phillips said. “It’s time that we shine a light on their shameless corruption and signal to dictators – and the world – that America is watching, and kleptocracy will not be tolerated. As a founding member of the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy, I am proud to support this important legislation, and I am confident it is only the first of many bipartisan initiatives to confront global corruption and combat authoritarianism in all of its forms.”“Whether it's Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, or the Castro family in Cuba, brutal dictators across our hemisphere are lining their pockets while ruthlessly oppressing their people,” Congresswoman Salazar said, a founding member of the Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy and an original cosponsor of the legislation. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act which will expose these regimes for the thieves that they really are.”