The General Accounting Office released a report Wednesday criticizing the Treasury Department's efforts to fight money laundering.
The GAO said the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has implemented only three of the eight provisions of the 1994 Money Laundering Suppression Act and has missed three congressionally set deadlines for implementing the law. The agency also said Fincen had failed to keep Congress adequately informed.
For example, Fincen had until March 1995 to implement rules requiring check cashing and currency exchange firms to register with the Treasury. It did not publish a comprehensive proposal until May 1997 and still has not issued a final rule.
"The GAO study shows that what Fincen does, it does fairly well," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, chairman of a House Banking oversight subcommittee hearing on the report. "However, it is the critical work that Fincen is not getting done that threatens to undermine the fight against money laundering."
Fincen's acting director, William F. Baity, complained at the hearing that the GAO misrepresented his agency's efforts. Some parts of the 1994 law have not yet been implemented, he said, because the rules must be carefully crafted to fit more than 200,000 financial services providers that are subject to anti-laundering laws.