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Waters Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing on Treasury’s Role in Safeguarding the American Financial System

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement at a Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance hearing entitled “Financial Intelligence and Enforcement: Treasury’s Role in Safeguarding the American Financial System.”

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and welcome, Under Secretary Mandelker.

Today’s hearing provides an opportunity to examine not only the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence—which administers targeted financial sanctions and has a critical mandate for disrupting illicit finance—but also to discuss your priorities, as the Office’s newly confirmed Under Secretary.

At a July hearing where Secretary Mnuchin testified, I tried to get clarity from him on the actions the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) takes upon receipt of information that indicates potential criminal activity and the procedures in place to analyze and disseminate such information to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. He was not forthcoming.

Given your role in overseeing FinCEN’s activities, I am hoping you can shed light on whether proactively notifying law enforcement about potential violations of law is a priority for you, including, and in particular, when such violations may relate to the President, members of his immediate family, his cabinet and Russian oligarchs subject to U.S. sanctions.

Given the latest revelations about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' business entanglements with sanctioned Russian persons, I do hope you are paying serious attention to this matter.

I would also briefly like to touch on anti-money laundering reform, and the importance of closing a number of gaping loopholes that I’m hopeful this Committee can address legislatively and that you would also support.

In particular, I hope that we can (1) apply minimum anti-money laundering requirements to persons involved in real estate settlements and closings, (2) require beneficial ownership disclosures for anonymous shell companies, and (3) help mitigate wholesale de-risking and its adverse consequences particularly for vulnerable populations.

With that I look forward to your testimony and I yield back the balance of my time.


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