July 18, 2019

Feinstein Speaks on Money Laundering, Corruption Bill

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today delivered remarks before the committee on the importance of passing the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act to address ongoing international corruption and financial schemes.

            Video of her remarks is available here.

            “Today on the agenda is the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act. I want particularly to thank Senator Grassley for his leadership on this bill and Senators Klobuchar, Whitehouse and Cornyn for their cosponsorship.

            Money laundering and corruption are indeed very big issues. In 2015 – and that’s four years ago – the International Monetary Fund and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that laundered money amounts to approximately $1.5 trillion to $3.7 trillion globally. If you think about that, it’s huge.

            This bill attempts to fills gaps in the law and gives law enforcement the tools it needs to address new money-laundering schemes.

            Unfortunately, as it’s so profitable, people are constantly scheming how to do it, so there has to be some flexibility.

            Importantly, illegal funds are not only used by drug traffickers and terrorists, but countries like Russia have also been able to funnel millions of dollars into our elections and businesses.

            For example, it’s been alleged – I can’t prove it, but it’s been alleged – that Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, gave tens of millions of dollars to the National Rifle Association with the express purpose of supporting then-candidate Trump.

            Similarly, my understanding is that at least 22 foreign governments have spent money at Trump properties. This is likely just a small part of foreign efforts to influence our government and businesses through shell corporations and other methods of concealing funds.

            In 2016, the Obama administration made several recommendations about how to better address the threat of money laundering as it relates to drug trafficking, terrorism, and foreign influence.

            Senator Grassley and I had already been working together on this issue, and we were able to incorporate several of those recommendations into this bill.

            This bill is the product of years of work Senator Grassley and I did together as co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

            In particular, it builds on the recommendations included in a bipartisan report we authored, entitled: The Buck Stops Here: Improving U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Practice.”

            Through that work, we were able to identify several ways to better address money laundering. For example, the bill:

  • Increases penalties for bulk cash smuggling;
  • It strengthens our ability to obtain foreign bank records by imposing penalties on banks that don’t comply with subpoenas;
  • It provides the government with additional tools to better investigate offenses that involve moving funds into and out of the United States; and
  • Finally, it clarifies that it’s a crime to transfer funds into or out of the United States to evade taxes.

            I want to thank Senator Grassley for holding a hearing on this bill last Congress, and I want to thank Senator Graham for holding the hearing this Congress on “Combating Kleptocracy,” which also addressed money laundering.”

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