WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), announced today that his provision targeting trade-based money laundering (TBML) was including in the Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 (S. 3153), which was recently introduced by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC). Cassidy’s provision requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to submit a report to the congressional intelligence committees on the threats posed by trade-based money laundering to America’s national security.
“ICE’s recent seizure of $43 million worth of counterfeit items in Laredo, Texas, underscores the very real threat posed by transnational criminal and terrorist organizations seeking to fund their illegal activities,” said Dr. Cassidy. “If we want to end the opioid epidemic, improve border security, and cripple terrorist networks, we need to do a better job of dismantling the business models of criminals and terrorists who use trade-based money laundering to move their illicit funds around the world. I thank Chairman Burr for agreeing to include my provision in his legislation.”
This measure is the latest part of Cassidy’s effort to target money laundering. Last week, Cassidy and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the federal government’s efforts to combat trade-based money laundering in light of the ongoing opioid epidemic. In April, Cassidy visited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) National Targeting Center for meetings with officials and experts on the federal government’s efforts to fight terrorism, combat illicit money laundering, and intercept illegal narcotics. In February, Cassidy questioned U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about efforts to combat money laundering, pointing to estimates indicating the U.S. intercepts less than seven percent of funds moved across the border illicitly. Cassidy also introduced legislation to crack down on drug traffickers laundering money across our southern border and use the seized funds to pay for border security measures, including a border wall system. In Finance Committee hearings, Cassidy has pressed officials from the IRS and Customs and Border Protection to better combat trade-based money laundering.
The full text of Cassidy’s provision included in S. 3153 is below:
Trade-based money laundering
Threats to our national security posed by trade-based money laundering are concerning. Therefore, the Committee directs the DNI, within 90 days of enactment of this Act, to submit a report to the congressional intelligence committees on these threats, including an assessment of the severity of the threats posed to the United States’ national security by trade-based money laundering conducted inside and outside the United States; an assessment of the scope of the financial threats to the U.S. economy and financial systems posed by trade-based money laundering; a description of how terrorist financing and drug trafficking organizations are advancing their illicit activities through the use of licit trade channels; an assessment of the adequacy of the systems and tools available to the Federal Government for combating trade-based money laundering; and a description and assessment of the current structure and coordination between Federal agencies, as well as with foreign governments, to combat trade-based money laundering. The report shall be submitted in classified form with an unclassified summary for public availability.