House Advances Bill To Strengthen Banking Transparency

BY DAVE KOVALESKI | MAY 17, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives advanced a bill this week that would require the Department of the Treasury to report semiannually on financial services provided to benefit a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act of 2019 (H.R. 1037) was sponsored by Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA).

“I am honored that my first legislation was passed unanimously through the House,” Riggleman said. “This bill gives Congress the tools it needs to monitor the financial transactions of bad actors and sanction state sponsors of terrorism.”

The bill requires the Secretary of the Treasury to submit to Congress every 180 days a report with a list of the licenses it issues to financial institutions to provide services to countries and persons subject to certain U.S. sanctions. This would include state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran, North Korea, or Syria.

The Treasury would also be required to provide a list of any foreign banks that conduct significant transactions for persons that have been sanctioned for human rights abuses or corruption.

“The information in these reports will inform Congress about how sanctioned states and individuals engage in financial transactions,” Riggleman said before the vote. “Additionally, the increased transparency will help us understand the impacts of sanctions on targeted individuals. With a clear idea of how certain foreign countries are undermining U.S. efforts to combat corruption and human rights atrocities, we can adjust our sanctions policies, so they have the intended effects.”

He added that the bill would allow Congress and the Executive branch to tailor secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions and better determine how those sanctions should be designed.