Senator’s legislation strengthens the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s ability to cut off financing of illegal activity and keep Arizonans safe
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced legislation that modernizes the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the agency charged with protecting Americans by stopping the financing of illicit activity. The bipartisan legislation makes a number of changes to the agency and allows it to coordinate with tribal law enforcement agencies, protect against domestic terrorist threats, and address crime and terrorism financed through virtual currencies.
“As part of our national defense, we must cut off the money that fuels terrorism and transnational crime. Our bipartisan bill improves coordination with Arizona’s tribal law enforcement, combats homegrown terrorism, and disrupts crime financed through virtual currencies,” said Sinema.
Sinema cosponsored the FinCEN Improvement Act in the U.S. House, part of a years-long effort to improve the federal government’s counter threat finance capabilities to keep Arizonans safe. In 2015, Sinema introduced a bill that requires government to develop a coordinated, national strategy to combat the financing of terrorism. Her bipartisan bill was signed into law in 2017. As required by Sinema’s law, the Treasury Department released in August the first-of-its-kind illicit finance report, bringing needed emphasis to this critical national security issue. Last Congress, Sinema also introduced a pair of bipartisan bills to disrupt the financing of transnational criminal syndicates like Sinaloa and stop the financing of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states like North Korea and Iran. Both bills passed the U.S. House with large, bipartisan majorities.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) statutory authorities currently limit its involvement to foreign, federal, and local law enforcement. The FinCEN Improvement Act expands its authority to work with tribal law enforcement, and ensures that crimes occurring on tribal lands can be prosecuted by FinCEN, with the cooperation of tribal authorities.
The FinCEN Improvement Act expands the FinCEN’s statute from being solely focused on combatting international terrorism to include all types of terrorism, including domestic. The legislation also allows the FinCEN to monitor emerging technology, including cryptocurrency and virtual currency.