Government Funding Bill Boosts Resources to Find Illicit Cash
The New Funds Will Give Treasury the Money to Find Assets of Oligarchs and Other Hidden Wealth
A statement from the U.S. office of Transparency International
March 11, 2022
Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed a government funding bill that will provide over $160 million to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) and $195 million to the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (“TFI”) at the U.S. Department of Treasury for fiscal year 2022. This is a substantial increase over fiscal year 2021. The bill also provides an additional $19 million of emergency funding to FinCEN and $25 million to TFI in order to “respond to the situation in Ukraine and for related expenses.”
Gary Kalman, Director of Transparency International U.S., said the following on the passage of the Act:
The increase in funding is a direct and immediate response to the current crisis in Ukraine and clear recognition from Congress of the critical role these agencies play in going after the money of Russian oligarchs. While it shouldn’t take a tragic invasion of a sovereign nation to understand the importance of protecting our financial system, the new funding will provide support to address the immediate crisis as well as lay a foundation to ensure we can effectively implement rules to detect and prevent widespread future abuses.
FinCEN, in particular, has been woefully underfunded for years. The agency has roughly the same number of staff as its counterpart in Australia, a country with an economy one-tenth the size of the U.S.’s. The increased budget will provide FinCEN with the resources to complete critical rules around corporate and real estate transparency. The additional emergency funds will allow both of these agencies to more effectively respond to the crisis with the necessary personnel and equipment to do needed analysis and provide intelligence to the broader law enforcement and national security community.
Corruption and financial secrecy helped Putin and the oligarchs hide, invest, and profit from the money they stole from the Russian people, and fuel and finance the invasion of Ukraine. The new funding approved by Congress will help us hold those individuals accountable in the near term and begin to build necessary defenses for the future.
Transparency International is the world’s largest coalition against corruption. We give voices to victims and witnesses of corruption, and work with governments, businesses, and citizens to stop the abuse of entrusted power. In collaboration with national chapters in more than 100 countries, we are leading the fight to turn our vision of a world free from corruption into reality.
- Read a letter from a bipartisan group of U.S. House members urging congressional appropriators to “significantly increase funding for FinCEN” for fiscal year 2022;
- Read TI-US’s bipartisan plan to combat global corruption, stating that FinCEN must “receive the resources and political support necessary to meet rising threats” to the U.S. financial system.
Gary Kalman, Director, Transparency International U.S. Office
Telephone: +1 215-439-7090