Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded the news that the “Corporate Transparency Act” passed the House of Representatives as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on a 335 to 78 vote.
“Transnational criminal organizations and terrorist operations are using our banks, financial institutions, and other means to profit from their illegal activity,” said Yoes. “This is a well-documented problem for our financial institutions and for law enforcement as we work together to shut down these sophisticated criminal enterprises and stop the threat to our public safety and national security.”
Under current laws, shell corporations may be used as front organizations by criminals conducting illegal activity, such as money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion. All too often, investigations hit a dead end when law enforcement encounters a company with hidden ownership. This legislation will allow for the collection of simple, yet actionable, beneficial ownership information to be used in combating this misuse of U.S. companies.
“The FOP has been working on this landmark legislation to combat money laundering since 2006,” said Yoes. “When we can expose the link between shell companies and drug trafficking, corruption, organized crime, and terrorist financing, law enforcement will be able to bring these criminals to justice and ensure that our citizens and our nation are safer.”
By requiring the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to collect beneficial ownership information from corporations and limited liability companies, law enforcement will finally be able to properly investigate shell companies that deal in illicit financing and trafficking in humans, sex, guns, and drugs. This legislation ensures that this information, once collected, will be available to law enforcement at every level—local, State, tribal, and Federal.
“We would like to thank Representative Carolyn Maloney, Representative Peter King, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Mike Crapo for their leadership and strong support on this issue,” said Yoes. “This comprehensive legislation provides much-needed tools to better combat money laundering, including the crucial collection of beneficial ownership information. The FOP looks forward to the legislation passing the Senate later this week and becoming law.”
The National Defense Authorization Act now goes to the Senate, which is expected to pass the measure on Thursday. The bill would then be transmitted to the President, who has repeatedly announced his intention to veto the bill because the bill renames certain military installations and does not include Section 230 reforms on technology firms and Internet providers—which he had specifically requested Congress to do. If the President vetoes the bill and returns it to Congress or exercises a "pocket veto" by not signing it into law within 10 days, Congress will have to reconvene to override that veto. Congressional leaders have indicated that they will be prepared to take this step as the measure passed today with a veto-proof majority and a similarly large majority is expected in the Senate on Thursday.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 356,000 members.