WASHINGTON – Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., reintroduced legislation Friday to strengthen the government's ability to prosecute individuals who break anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules.
Renewal of the Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act comes after the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting earlier this month, which has spurred fresh questions about the role financial institutions and online lenders play in facilitating illegal activity.
"Given the recent horrific acts of violence carried out by the San Bernardino shooters, and with the Islamic State having demonstrated both the capacity and intention to export its brutality beyond the Middle East, the need to sharpen our anti-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering efforts has become increasingly urgent," said Waters, ranking member on the Financial Services Committee, in a press release. "While we do not have any evidence that financial institutions failed to do their due diligence regarding the San Bernardino shooters at this time, the track record of the largest financial institutions operating here in the United States makes clear that more must be done to cut off access to funds fueling terrorist attacks on innocent people here and abroad in these difficult, trying times."
The bill would make it easier for the government to go after individuals for violating the Bank Secrecy Act and would make bank executives personally liable for related misconduct. It also empowers regulators to remove or ban bankers who violate the law from the industry.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the banking panel, said Thursday that he's also pursuing terrorist financing legislation and will review pending draft legislation in light of the recent attacks.