In a new op-ed published in the Connecticut Post, two Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) whistleblowers urge Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act. The whistleblowers, Frederic Whitehurst and WNN’s Jane Turner, argue that “given the war in Ukraine, and the billions of dollars Russian oligarchs have laundered into the West, the need to immediately pass this law is overwhelming.”
The AML Whistleblower Improvement Act addresses current loopholes in the U.S. Treasury Department’s AML Whistleblower Program and expands the program to cover sanctions whistleblowing.
Leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto explained the importance of the bill on WNN’s Whistleblower of the Week podcast. He claims that the bill is “maybe the most important anti-corruption law in the last 50 years.”
In their op-ed, Whitehurst and Turner connect their own experiences blowing the whistle to the need for strong whistleblower laws protecting money laundering and sanctions whistleblowers. “We know firsthand the power whistleblowers have in exposing crimes otherwise hard to detect,” they write. “We both held highly distinguished positions in our respective roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We know how insiders are the key to detecting corruption. We know that one whistleblower alone, in Estonia, disclosed a scheme where $240 billion was laundered from Russia and former Soviet states into the West. We know that this scheme included members of Putin’s family and the Russian secret policy. We know that without whistleblowers the ability of law enforcement to detect and prosecute money laundering and sanctions-busting crimes the effectiveness of law enforcement will be crippled. You need insiders. You need confidential informants.”
The Senate unanimously passed the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act on December 7. A House version of the bill was previously unanimously approved by the House Committee on Financial Services.
“Although the bill has overwhelming bipartisan support, and is urgently needed, it can only pass Congress if the House places the bill on something known as the ‘suspension calendar,’” explain Whitehurst and Turner. “This permits bills that have little or no opposition to be quickly approved by the House. Everything is set for a quick vote. The only remaining issue is whether or not DeLauro, chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, will approve the bill for a vote.”
“If DeLauro acts to move the AML reform bill forward it will pass with widespread bipartisan support,” the FBI whistleblowers conclude. “She will be a hero for whistleblowers and those suffering from Russian money laundering and sanctions-busting. She must act now to ensure this bill makes it to a vote before the year is up.”
Representative DeLauro’s office can be reached at (202) 225-3661 and the House Committee on Appropriations at (202) 225-2771.