Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), the Democratic Chair of the Task Force on Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, introduced the FinCEN Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2440), legislation that recognizes the important role of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in monitoring and disrupting the flow of money to terrorist networks around the world. The bipartisan legislation is jointly cosponsored by Lynch's colleagues on the Task Force, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA), Rep. Chris Carney (D-PA), Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL), and Republican Co-Chair Ed Royce (R-CA).
FinCEN was established in 1990 as a bureau within the Department of Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to serve as America's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). It is comprised of more than 300 analysts, technology experts and federal agents. FinCEN is one of more than 100 recognized FIUs around the globe whose missions are to work together to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
“FinCEN is the watchdog protecting the financial systems of America and her allies from financial crimes including terrorist financing, money laundering and the development of weapons of mass destruction,” said Congressman Lynch. “This bill reaffirms the importance of this critical bureau, and better enables FinCEN to disrupt terrorist activity in the future and train FIUs around the world to do the same.”
The FinCEN Reauthorization Act will allow the bureau to improve information sharing between law enforcement and government agencies and intensify collaboration among the global network of FIUs. Congressman Lynch's bill enables FinCEN to meet these goals by increasing their previously under-funded budget by $12 million for Fiscal Year 2008, to $85.8 million. The additional funding will also be used to restore the cross-border wire transfer system and for the hiring of additional analysts to more effectively detect both illegal and terrorist activities.
“Especially given FinCEN's new responsibilities as a partner in the Global War on Terror, this increase in funding is long overdue,” said Congressman Lynch. “If we can deny terrorists access to our financial markets, we can make it significantly more difficult for them to plan and execute acts of terror.”
In his role as the Chair of the Terrorism and Proliferation Financing Task Force, Congressman Lynch recently led a Congressional Delegation to the Middle East and met with banking officials in Turkey, Jordan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Lynch has made it a priority of the Task Force to bring greater oversight and accountability to the international banking industry.
Congressman Lynch said that he expects the Financial Services Committee to hold a hearing on the FinCEN Reauthorization Act later this summer.