Chairman Quigley Statement at Hearing on Treasury’s Role in Combating Financial Crimes
Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the "Treasury’s Role in Combating Financial Crimes":
Today’s hearing is called to order—
This morning we welcome Sigal Mandelker, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Department of the Treasury.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I have traveled to countries around world—and had the benefit of receiving classified briefings from multiple agencies—to understand the means and tactics used by terrorists, drug traffickers, human smugglers, and other bad actors who threaten our national security.
One thing I’ve learned from these briefings is that all of these criminal organizations have one thing in common—their unlawful operations are supported and financed through money laundering.
Treasury plays a vital—but often overlooked—role in combatting terrorist financing and money laundering.
In particular, the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) works to protect the integrity of our financial system using a variety of tools and authorities.
TFI’s activities range from economic and trade sanctions administered and enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and others who seek to do us harm, to the collection and analysis of intelligence and financial information that can be used by law enforcement to investigate financial crimes and money laundering.
The fiscal year 2019 omnibus appropriations included an increase of $17.2 million above the FY18 levels for TFI.
This additional funding supported the newly-established Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, a multilateral effort between the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries to counter terrorist financing, and provided a substantial enhancement to Treasury’s programs targeting North Korea.
From the limited information we have so far on the Department’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, I am pleased to see continued recognition of the important work you do—with a proposal for modest increases above FY19 levels for both TFI and FinCEN.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to comment on the recent announcement of Treasury’s intent to divert $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund to pay for the construction of physical barriers along the southern border.
These funds are typically used to augment funding for critical Treasury and Homeland Security operations, such as IRS criminal investigations, title III wiretaps, and electronic crimes task forces.
In fiscal year 2019, Treasury’s budget request stated its intent to use available funds to support investigations and other activities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The recent decision to redirect these funds towards border fencing recklessly undermines the ability of Treasury and Homeland Security to address known threats against our financial system—and the nation.
Before I turn to our witnesses for their statements, I would like to recognize Mr. Graves for his opening remarks.