Press Releases

McHenry Highlights Need to Protect Americans’ Civil Liberties at Hearing with FinCEN

Washington, April 28, 2022 -

Today, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing with Acting Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Himamauli “Him” Das. Committee Republicans will demand accountability for FinCEN’s broad statutory authority, transparency for its collection of Americans’ financial data, and protection for small businesses from overly burdensome beneficial ownership regulations.

Watch Republican Leader Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.

Read Republican Leader McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“We wish Chair Waters a speedy recovery from COVID. But I want to thank the Chair for holding this hearing.

“As we all know, proper oversight relies on agency heads coming before Congress to testify.

“For an office like FinCEN, which has operated under the radar screen for the last three and half years, appearing before us is especially significant.

“So, thank you, Acting Director Das, for being here today.

“Mr. Das, you were not the head of FinCEN during the FY21 NDAA negotiations, so I’d like to take a moment to share some of that process so you can understand Congress’ intent.

“Because after reading FinCEN’s beneficial ownership notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPRM, there seems to be quite a disconnect. 

“Early negotiations were anything but bipartisan.

“For our part, Republicans’ non-negotiables were clear. We wanted to limit burdens on small businesses; protect personally identifiable information as if it were tax information; and hold FinCEN accountable to the American people once a bill became law.

“We understood, on both sides of the aisle, that the stakes were too high for millions of small businesses to not get this right.

“So, the four corners came to an agreement that a revised beneficial ownership regime would: be easy to understand for small businesses, limit the burdens on those filing, and protect civil liberties and ensure confidentiality.

“What resulted was a targeted statute that would focus on stopping bad actors such as China or Russia from using the financial system. At the same time, it limited the burdens on law-abiding small businesses in the process.

“We directed FinCEN to prevent duplicative and burdensome requirements on small businesses, including rescinding the Customer Due Diligence rule.

“We directed FinCEN to report on steps it is taking to minimize reporting requirements, which will provide this committee with necessary data on SAR and CTR reporting thresholds.

“And we asked that the new beneficial ownership data be equipped with the strongest privacy and disclosures protections for small business owners’ information.

“FinCEN is one of the biggest data collectors in the U.S. Government, yet how they collect, manage, and allow access to that data remains a mystery.

“Unfortunately, after reading FinCEN’s NPRM, it is clear the agency needs a reminder on what Congress directed.

“The proposed rule was far too complex, overly broad, and deviated significantly from Congress’ intent.

“My colleagues across the aisle like to advocate for greater authorities for FinCEN. But until the office can show Congress it can do the job it has, that’s not something we should even discuss—especially if implementing a bicameral-bipartisan statute proves this difficult.

“Without objection I would like to submit for the record my letter with Ranking Member Luetkemeyer outlining our disappointment and concern with the Beneficial Ownership NPRM.

“Director Das, I think it’s fair to say that FinCEN has too many responsibilities and doesn’t do any of them as well as they could.

“I look forward to working with you to ensure that our anti-money laundering programs are targeted and effective—and at the same time protect Americans’ civil liberties.

“I yield back.”


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