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Luetkemeyer Delivers Remarks at Hearing to Conduct Oversight of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

Washington, April 27, 2023 -

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions, led by Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), is holding a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).” 

Watch Chairman Luetkemeyer’s opening remarks here.
Read Chairman Luetkemeyer’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Under Secretary Nelson, Acting Director Das, thank you both for being here today.
“Proper oversight of administrative agencies by Congress is an important responsibility we exercise to ensure those very agencies are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities and adhering to Congressional intent.
“For far too long, FinCEN has operated under the radar, quietly amassing new authorities that frankly would shock the average American.
“The amount of information FinCEN has access to likely makes our intelligence community very jealous. It is imperative that Congress pulls back the curtain on these authorities and the ways in which FinCEN uses them.
“Along with a seemingly ever-expanding list of authorities, it has become clear that the return on investment for the immense regulatory burdens FinCEN places upon financial institutions is lacking.
“In February I sent a letter to Attorney General Garland about Section 6201 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. This letter was my response to a jaw dropping report that outlined the Department of Justice’s failures to track statistics on how it uses BSA reports despite statutory mandates.
“The DOJ’s disregard for this section of AMLA 2020, and inability to state the usefulness of the data begs the question if the burdensome reporting is worthwhile. Without objection I request unanimous consent to submit a copy of the letter into the record.
“Neither of our witnesses today control how the DOJ uses BSA data, I know that, but this DOJ issue is emblematic of the larger problem before us today. FinCEN and the Treasury department have shown to be unable to properly balance national security with limiting burdens on those they regulate.
“Let’s take for example the ongoing Beneficial Ownership rulemaking. Earlier this month, I joined a letter led by Chair McHenry and Senator Whitehouse on your most recent notice and request for comment on the BO form that small businesses will fill out.
“We had 6 members of the House, and 6 Senators including Chairs and Ranking Members join a letter to push back on what should have been a straightforward notice. This FinCEN notice was so off base that Congress had to put forward a bicameral and bipartisan response to tell you that enough is enough.
“During a time in American politics where Republicans and Democrats can rarely agree, we all were able to rally around the fact that FinCEN is not getting it right.
“I hope you read our message loud and clear. The Corporate Transparency Act was created to be a strategic tool to target bad actors abusing our financial system while simultaneously reducing the regulatory burden on both small businesses and regulated entities. FinCEN’s proposed Beneficial Ownership form fails to reduce the burden for financial institutions by forcing them to collect information that the law clearly states FinCEN should be collecting.
“Moving to sanctions, we need to demand accountability from Treasury for its refusal to stop Russia from waging war in Ukraine. As the Institute of International Finance has shown, Russian imports are stable from a year ago, with Chinese exports making up for Western goods. Treasury has allowed sanctioned Russian banks to use the U.S. financial system in order to rake in energy-related revenues, and it worked to roll back tough EU sanctions on Russian crude. Treasury appears to care more about the oil market and Democrats’ electoral prospects than Putin’s war crimes. This is shameful.
“In China, the CCP continues to perpetrate genocide against the Uighurs. While Treasury has sanctioned a number of foreign leaders around the world, top officials in the Chinese Politburo have been spared. There is no excuse for this inaction.
“History will not judge this Administration kindly if Under Secretary Nelson and his colleagues refuse to punish Beijing for its atrocities.”

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