Sen. Rand Paul Fighting to Gut Terror Finance Laws

May 26th, 2011

Tom Cardamone

Tom Cardamone

Global Financial Integrity Managing Director Tom Cardamone has written a new blog post for the TrustLaw website highlighting U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) efforts to gut the USA PATRIOT Act of key anti-money laundering/anti-terror financing provisions. The key provisions are set to expire Friday morning unless the U.S. Congress renews them before then.

Referencing two of Senator Paul’s eight proposed amendments to the act, Cardamone writes:

Two of the Paul amendments deal with Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) that money services businesses are required to submit to the Treasury Department when terrorist financing, money laundering or other illegal financial activity is suspected. Paul sees this requirement as a violation of the fourth amendment to the constitution, which protects Americans against illegal search and seizure.  He explained this position during a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

While Paul believes that the Patriot Act makes it “incumbent upon the bank to spy on their customers,” in reality the SARs requirement is a judicious use of government power directed specifically at activities that could be harmful to U.S. national security and innocent citizens. If Paul’s amendments pass, they will severely undermine the ability of law enforcement to investigate suspicious financial movements that are consistent with activity known to be used with criminal intent. Indeed, money services businesses are required to file a SARs when the firm “knows, suspects or has reason to suspect” illegal activity.

SARs are a key tool in the fight against terror financing, and the provisions should be renewed without amendment.

The blog post, which you can read in full on the TrustLaw website, is the first in a series of Tom Cardamone’s views that will henceforth appear on the TrustLaw website fortnightly on Thursdays.  Visit Mr. Cardamone’s TrustLaw author page to stay up-to-date with his latest posts.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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