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Bipartisan Momentum Building for Shell Company Reform

On June 28, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced legislation to shine a light on dirty money.

The “Corporate Transparency Act” aims to close a loophole which allows companies to be formed anonymously, and gives law enforcement and banks access to who owns and controls a company. This would end the use of anonymous shell companies -- a common tool for money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes.

Meanwhile, the True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act will be filed in the Senate by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), which aims at closing the same loopholes.

From Fair Share’s own work tying the use of anonymous shell companies to opioid epidemic, to their connection to human trafficking, and defrauding Medicare and the Pentagon; there is simply no reason to tolerate the continued practice of hiding company ownership from law enforcement.

It’s time that we made sure the rules apply to everyone, and stop providing financial getaway cars for crooks.

Shell companies that can be formed in the shadows with little transparency and no way of finding out who is behind them. The Corporate Transparency Act would require companies to provide information on their beneficial owners to law enforcement, as well as banks to aid in their anti-money laundering requirements.

Similar reforms have been proposed in the past but they are gaining momentum. A diverse coalition of faith, good government and anti-corruption groups have teamed to address the issue of secretive shell companies. They’ve earned support from major law enforcement groups, banks looking to curtail money laundering, and groups invested in ending criminal enterprises like the opioid epidemic, human trafficking, and fraud.

The next step for the bill is to move through the subcommittee on illicit finance, chaired by Rep. Steve Pearce.