Ayotte presses Treasury on cutting off ISIS funds

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.) is pressing the Treasury Department to detail how it plans to cut off funding for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Dismantling ISIS’ financial foundation is critical to our ability to protect our homeland and ultimately defeat ISIS,” Ayotte said in a Sept. 23 letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

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Ayotte applauded the agency targeting for “external funding networks by imposing sanctions on individuals affiliated” with the group. But she also pressed the Obama administration to also “aggressively go after revenue accrued from the sale of oil, smuggling, robbery, kidnapping, and other criminal conduct.”

Intelligence officials have warned that ISIS has filled its coffers through the sale of Iraqi and Syrian oil, and from ransom money paid to free Western hostages.

Ayotte asked Lew to answer eight questions, including if the terror group receives “financial support from private individuals residing in U.S.-partner countries in the region.” She also asked Lew to detail what Congress could to help his agency “dismantle” ISIS’s revenue streams.

Ayotte’s letter was sent a day before the Treasury Department announced it would sanction 11 individuals and one Indonesian charity organization for aiding the flow of foreign fighters to Islamist terror groups like ISIS.

Earlier this month, the department also pledged to “intensify” efforts to disrupt the terror group’s financing.

Ayotte urged Lew to work with other “federal agencies and international partners, to aggressively undertake every possible step to target ISIS’ funding.”

Airstrikes against ISIS have also attempted to break the group’s control on oil resources.

U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducted airstrikes against ISIS targets in eastern Syria, including 12 small-scale oil refineries seized by the group, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

The refineries produced between 300 and 500 barrels of refined petroleum per day. These and other illicit enterprises generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist organization, the statement said.