Senators: Stop corporate secrecy

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) demanded Wednesday that Congress pass their bill that aims to stop corporate secrecy allowing “money launderers, arms dealers, drug lords [and] terrorists” to evade U.S. taxes.

“Prosecutors of financial crimes follow the money,” Grassley said in a joint statement with Levin. “It’s hard for them to do that when criminals are able to exploit corporate transparency laws. The more focused attention on the need for our legislation, the better, as we work toward passage.”

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Grassley and Levin have introduced S. 1465, the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act. Their bill would require states to ask companies who their prospective corporation’s true owners are on incorporation applications. They say their bill will reduce an international criminal’s ability to launder money through U.S. corporations.

“Today, money launderers, arms dealers, drug lords, terrorists and tax evaders are too often able to conceal their misconduct behind a wall of corporate secrecy,” Levin said. “Our legislation already has the strong support of the law enforcement community.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has introduced a companion measure in the House, H.R. 3331. But no votes have been scheduled in either chamber on the legislation.

Earlier this week, the organization Global Witness announced it would spend $1 million on a global campaign for corporate transparency, an effort Levin and Grassley applauded.