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Rubio, Whitehouse, Wyden, Grassley Urge Strong Implementation of Anti-Money Laundering Reform
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a bipartisan comment to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) encouraging the efficient, effective implementation of a beneficial ownership reporting system, as required by the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). Rubio secured the anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership provisions, modeled after the CTA, in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 116-283).
Senator Rubio first introduced the bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act with Senator Wyden in August 2017. In August 2018, Senators Rubio, Wyden, and Whitehouse succeeded in passing bipartisan legislation to lay the groundwork to expand a U.S. Department of the Treasury initiative to curb foreign nationals laundering money through high-end real estate. The Miami Herald also published an in-depth report on Rubio’s continued efforts to crack down on dirty money in real estate.
“[T]he CTA is the product of a sensitive and painstaking legislative process, and its passage represents perhaps the most important anti-money laundering reform of the past decade,” the senators wrote. “Despite the legislative success, this achievement can only be realized if the system works in practice. As such, we encourage FinCEN to implement a straightforward, efficient, and effective system and to do so promptly.”
The full text of the letter is below.
To Whom It May Concern,
We write in response to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding to the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), enacted into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. As a bipartisan group of senators, we encourage FinCEN to implement a strong, efficient, and effective system that respects congressional intent.
The passage of the CTA marked the culmination of a years-long effort in Congress to combat money laundering, international corruption, and kleptocracy by requiring certain companies to disclose their beneficial owners to law enforcement, national security officials, and financial institutions with customer due diligence obligations. During that time, Congress held numerous hearings across a host of committees, sought input from key stakeholders, worked with officials from both the Obama and Trump administrations, and considered multiple pieces of related legislation and models from other nations.
In crafting the CTA, Congress negotiated many complex policy issues, including what information would be reported, how that information would be collected, and who would have access to it. We and other drafters of this law sought to strike the proper balance between collecting accurate and useful information and not overburdening businesses with compliance obligations. In the end, the CTA also received strong support from a vast and diverse stakeholder coalition, including law enforcement, national security experts, the business community, the real estate community, the financial sector, and non-governmental organizations.
In light of the broad support for the CTA, we urge FinCEN to take all steps to ensure that the beneficial collection system reflects Congress’s intent that the system produce high-quality data and that authorized users have timely access to that data. To achieve this, FinCEN should be mindful not to leave loopholes that could dilute the quality of the information collected or allow bad actors to evade reporting. Additionally, the information is only useful if authorized users are able to efficiently access the data. As such, FinCEN should ensure that authorized users, including law enforcement and national security officials, and financial institutions with customer consent, have early, timely, and full access to beneficial ownership information. The access procedures should build on existing protocols and those provided for in the legislation and should avoid creating redundant hurdles that would unnecessarily delay access.
In short, the CTA is the product of a sensitive and painstaking legislative process, and its passage represents perhaps the most important anti-money laundering reform of the past decade. Despite the legislative success, this achievement can only be realized if the system works in practice. As such, we encourage FinCEN to implement a straightforward, efficient, and effective system and to do so promptly.