House Passes Lynch Bill to Increase Financial Transparency and Prevent Terrorism Financing

Jul 11, 2016 Issues: Anti-Terrorist Financing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch’s legislation H.R. 5602 passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 356-47. H.R. 5602 expands the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s ability to collect information under Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) in order to prevent money laundering. Congressman Lynch (D-Boston) is the lead Democrat on the Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing.

H.R. 5602 extends the anti-money laundering efforts of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The legislation authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to include all funds when issuing certain GTOs, including funds involved in an electronic fund transfer. GTOs impose additional reporting requirements on one or more domestic financial institutions or nonfinancial businesses in a geographic area to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.

“By widening the scope of information FinCEN can collect under geographic targeting orders, we are increasing transparency in financial transactions. Whether it is money funneled from a drug cartel or a terrorist organization, FinCEN will more readily be able to identify assets being hidden in high-risk transactions, particularly illicit funds in the real estate market. As terrorist organizations become more sophisticated at money laundering, the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing is working hard to ensure that our government agencies are able to effectively respond to these national security threats and disrupt terrorist financiers,” said Congressman Lynch. “I thank Chairman Hensarling, Ranking Member Waters, Chairman Fitzpatrick, Vice Chair Pittenger, and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle for moving this critical bipartisan legislation through the House.”   

The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congressman Lynch and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) on June 28, 2016. H.R. 5602 is cosponsored by Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), Task Force Chair Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Task Force Vice Chair Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Reps. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Andy Barr (R-KY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), French Hill (R-AR), and Al Green (D-TX).

The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing recently introduced a bipartisan package of legislation and four of the bills are on the House Floor for consideration today. Last week, H.R. 5485, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017, included an amendment from Congressman Lynch to increase funding for FinCEN by $3,300,000. The additional funding will enhance the agency’s supervisory strategy of Money Services Businesses and meet the growing demand for FinCEN’s national security response capacity.