Congress must find a way to advance the critical bill Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act (S.3316/H.R.7195) and work together for the sake of our nation and democracy as a whole. Money laundering is a threat to every institution we hold dear. There are lives, national security issues, and our freedom at stake. The advocacy you are seeing from National Whistleblower Center and other organizations reflects the importance of these improvements to the FinCEN program and the fact that they are urgently needed. Congress cannot put whistleblower issues on hold while rich criminals shop for Christmas presents with laundered money.
There is genuine public support for H.R.7195. This bill is critical, and so many people understand that we are in precarious times and need every tool at our disposal to stop anti-democratic forces.
Here is what we know:
- We know that oligarchs and despots freeride on the stability of our banking system by engaging in undetected financial crimes and sanctions evasion.
- We also know that whistleblowers are in the best position to detect these crimes and put an end to illegal money laundering schemes.
- Globally, whistleblower tips account for over 50% of successful anti-fraud actions, far outperforming independent government investigations.
- Whistleblowers programs without awards are historically underutilized. That is why programs have been and should continue to be, updated to include mandatory rewards.
- Reward programs radically increase the number of tips provided > which in turn increases the number of successful investigations > which increases the scale of recoveries by the United States.
- Recoveries include recaptured monies, illicitly obtained assets, and penalties. They are also an incredible deterrent.
- Whistleblower programs with mandatory – reward provisions consistently net multiple times more than they cost to operate. And whistleblower rewards come directly from sanctions – not from taxpayers.
NWC’s efforts are central to our mission to support whistleblowers and advance best practices such as anonymity, anti-retaliation, and rewards.
H.R. 7195 is critical to achieving major improvements in options for global whistleblowers who could radically increase the success of transnational anti-corruption and anti-money laundering efforts. NWC’s founders and a dedicated team spearhead our advocacy efforts and have fought to improve whistleblower protections since 1988.
Anti-money laundering is a critically important issue that is becoming unavoidable to address. I recently participated in the International Anti-Corruption Conference, organized by Transparency International and the State Department. NWC held a workshop highlighting the value of strong U.S. whistleblower programs and the value these programs bring to transnational anti-corruption efforts. During the conference, speakers on nearly every panel raised anti-money laundering enforcement mechanisms as a major tool to combat transnational corruption. Participants raised questions specifically about how to protect AML whistleblowers.
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor to the President, mentioned whistleblowers several times in his remarks at the conference. He also spoke about efforts the Biden administration is taking to combat money laundering. The Treasury just issued another proposal to update its rules on beneficial ownership. Everyone is talking about and taking action on this issue because this issue is critically important.
Action is needed now.
NWC has advocated for effective whistleblower incentives in the FinCEN program for years. Only Stephen Kohn, Jane Turner, and Fred Whitehurst’s passion for this bill exceeds mine. They lead the charge, educate and inspire the public to express their views. I am grateful to every person who calls Rep. DeLauro’s office. I hope their courage encourages her to make this bill law to improve our weapons in the fight against corruption and kleptocracy in 2023.