CD235: The Safe Haven of Sanctions Evaders
Release Date: 07/11/2021
The system for coordinating organ donations and transplants in the United States is broken, according to experts who have testified over the course of many years to Congress. In this episode, hear their testimony about what is wrong with the current system and then we’ll examine the bill that aims to fix the problems. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to:...info_outline CD280: Corporate Junk Fees
Do you hate hidden hotel, housing, airline, ticketing, banking, and other corporate fees? Do you want Congress to do something about them? In this episode, learn about the wide range of unreasonable fees being reported to Congress during hearings and examine what proposals could have bipartisan support. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or...info_outline CD279: The Censure of Adam Schiff
On June 21st, the House of Representatives censured Rep. Adam Schiff of California. The House has censured members just 24 times in our nation’s history, making Schiff the 25th. In this episode, we'll detail the actions outlined in the censure and let you decide for yourself: Is it a serious abuse of power? Is it a waste of time? Is it a deserved punishment? Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to:...info_outline CD278: All Three UAP Hearings
Since May 2022, Congress has held three hearings looking into Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the possibility of non-human intelligent life flying aircraft on Earth. In this episode, hear testimony from three Defense Department officials and three credible whistleblowers, whose testimony is often as contradictory as it is shocking. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments...info_outline CD277: PGA LIVs
The Chief Operating Officer and a board member of the PGA golf tour recently testified to the Senate as part of its investigation into the possible merger between the PGA and LIV golf tours. In this episode, hear a summary of their testimony which was about monopoly powers, labor rights, Saudi Arabian oil money, loyalty to country…. So much more than golf. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to:...info_outline CD276: The Demise of Dollar Dominance
The U.S. dollar’s status as the global reserve currency is diminishing, which reduces the power that U.S. leaders have over the global economic system. In this episode, hear highlights from recent Congressional testimony during which financial elites examine the current status of the global financial system and what Congress is being told to do to address perceived threats to it (and to their own power). Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to:...info_outline CD275: Debt Ceiling 2023: Crisis Normalized
Another unnecessary crisis averted. In this episode, Jen examines the debt ceiling crisis events of the past to show that the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 - which raised the debt ceiling - is not likely to reduce our government’s debt but will likely ensure that our environment will be trashed for profit. She also examines the best path forward to ensure that the debt ceiling is never used for political leverage again. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to:...info_outline CD274: Norfolk Southern Train Derailment in East Palestine
On February 3rd, a train carrying 20 cars with poisonous, flammable chemicals derailed in East Palestine, OH. In this episode, we’re going to get some answers. Using testimony from four Congressional hearings, community meeting footage, National Transportation Safety Board preliminary reports, and lots of articles from local and mainstream press, you will learn what Congress is being told as they write the Rail Safety Act, which both parts of Congress are working on in response to the East Palestine train derailment. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a...info_outline CD273: Inside Congressional Committees with Dr. Maya Kornberg
For this episode, Jen sat down for an interview with fellow Congress nerd Dr. Maya Kornberg. Dr. Kornberg is a Research Fellow for the Brennan Center for Justice's Elections and Government Program and author of Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process. They talk about how and why the power of committees has shifted over time, how witnesses are selected for hearings, why the hearing archives disappeared, resources for information that Congress has that we don’t have access to, and where we can find hope for improvements in terms of how Congress...info_outline CD272: What is Taiwan?
Taiwan’s status in the world has never been clear and neither has the United States’ position on the issue. In this Congressional Dish, via footage from the C-SPAN archive dating back into the 1960s, we examine the history of Taiwan since World War II in order to see the dramatic shift in Taiwan policy that is happening in Congress - and in law - right now. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to:...info_outline
Sanctions are weapons of economic war. In this episode, learn the troubling history of ever-expanding sanctions powers granted to the President designed to allow him to cut off people, companies, and governments from our financial system. You'll also hear fascinating testimony to Congress about how the targets of U.S. sanctions are getting around them. Their evasion techniques are probably not what you think.
Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links
- Click here to contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal
- Click here to support Congressional Dish for each episode via Patreon
- Send Zelle payments to: [email protected]
- Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney
- Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected]
Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to:
Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish
Thank you for supporting truly independent media!
Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes
CD230: Pacific Deterrence Initiative
CD190: A Coup for Capitalism
CD187: Combating China
CD176: Target Venezuela: Regime Change in Progress
CD167: Combating Russia (NDAA 2018) LIVE
CD156: Sanctions – Russia, North Korea & Iran
CD102: The World Trade Organization: COOL?
- Article: HSBC's Money Laundering Scandal by Marc L. Ross, Investopedia, June 13, 2021
- Document: Impact of Sanctions in Africa by Eric B. Lorber, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights, May 25, 2021
- Document: FinCEN Reissues Real Estate Geographic Targeting Orders for 12 Metropolitan Areas by Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, April 29, 2021
- Document: 2020 YEAR-END SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROLS UPDATE by Gibson Dunn, February 5, 2021
- Document: Economic Sanctions: Overview for the 117th Congress by Dianne E. Rennack and Rebecca M. Nelson, Congressional Research Service, January 15, 2021
- Article: China’s “Blocking Statute” – New Chinese Rules to Counter the Application of Extraterritorial Foreign Laws by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, January 13, 2021
- Document: The International Emergency Economic Powers Act: Origins, Evolution, and Use by Dianne E. Rennack, Ian F. Fergusson, Jennifer K. Elsea, and Christopher A. Casey, Congressional Research Service, July 14, 2020
- Document: International Criminal Court: U.S. Sanctions in Response to Investigation of War Crimes in Afghanistan by Dianne E. Rennack and Matthew C. Weed, Congressional Research Service, June 19, 2020
- Article: US Treasury to Apply Bank Secrecy Act Rules to Crypto Wallets by Jeff Benson, Decrypt, December 18, 2020
- Article: EU adopts a global human rights sanctions regime by Maria Daniela Lenzu, European Council, Council of the European Union, December 7, 2020
- Article: The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act by Edward J. Collins-Chas and Michael A. Weber, Congressional Research Service, December 7, 2020
- Article: War brings business to Feinstein spouse / Blum's firms win multimillion-dollar defense contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, SFGATE, January 20, 2012
- Article: Feinstein Violated Rules in Awarding Military Contracts by Tom Fitton, The Hill, May 15, 2007
- Press Release: Feinstein Caught in Conflict of Interest on Military Contracts by Association of Alternative News Media, January 25, 2007
- Document: Document by Financial Services, U.S. House
- EB-5 OVERVIEW EB5Capital
- List of national emergencies in the United States Wikipedia
- Office of Foreign Assets Control - Sanctions Programs and Information U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN) Human Readable Lists U.S. Department of the Treasury
- The American Presidency Project UC Santa Barbara
- Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions Federal Register, May 11, 2016
Sound Clip Sources
Speeches & Remarks: Remarks by President Biden in Press Conference, White House Briefing Room, June 16, 2021
12:10 President Joe Biden: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.
President Joe Biden: And, by the way, we talked about trade. I don’t have any problem with doing business with Russia, as long as they do it based upon international norms. It’s in our interest to see the Russian people do well economically. I don’t have a problem with that. But if they do not act according to international norms, then guess what? That will not — that only won’t it happen with us, it will not happen with other nations."
Hearing: Schemes and Subversion: How Bad Actors and Foreign Governments Undermine and Evade Sanctions Regimes, House Committee on Financial Services: Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, June 16, 2021
- Eric Lorber
- Senior Director at the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Managing Director at K2 Integrity
- Former Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Department of the Treasury
- Former corporate lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
- Lakshmi Kumar
- Policy Director at Global Financial Integrity
- Jesse Spiro
- Global Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs at Chainalysis
- Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro
- Professor of Political Science at Tufts University
- Ivan Garces
- Principal and Chair of Risk Advisory Services at Kaufmann Rossin
07:13 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Sanctions are an important instrument in foreign policy designed to be both a carrot and a stick in persuading an entity, an individual, a group or a country to change its behavior. A step beyond traditional diplomacy. It also avoids the downsides of kinetic action. We've seen the success of our sanctions regimes in bringing the Iranians to the table and isolating human rights violators through the Global Magnitsky Act amongst others. Our sanctions programs can only be as impactful as they are effective. When designated entities evade our sanctions, we lose an important tool from our diplomatic toolbox, increasing the likelihood that military action would be necessary to maintain international order.
08:09 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): This committee has worked to address some of these issues through the passage of the Corporate Transparency Act authored by Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and the Anti Money Laundering Act sponsored by Chairman Emanuel Cleaver as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. These bills give law enforcement the resources and authority to better track money launderers, including sanction evaders, and their success will depend in large part on this body adequately funding their implementation.
11:20 Rep. Andy Barr (KY): The US employs a robust sanctions program to deny adversaries the funding, logistics and resources to conduct illicit behavior or to compel them to change misguided behaviors.
12:14 Rep. Andy Barr (KY): The US maintains four major sanctions programs against Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela. These sanctions are a result of actions by those nations that are in direct conflict with US national security and global economic stability.
17:09 Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro: The primary aim of sanctions whether unilateral or multilateral, whether comprehensive or targeted, is to induce a change in the cost benefit calculations of the target and thus a change in the targets behavior.
18:13 Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro: Having won the Cold War and pushed the crumbling Soviet Union out of the ranks of the great powers, the United States emerged as the unit pole, the only great power left standing in 1990 and 1991. And for better or worse for two decades, weak systemic that has international constraints and the availability of opportunities to further improve its strategic position before the United States wide latitude in the definition and in the pursuit of its foreign policy, and national security objectives. This extreme imbalance of international power, however, had several consequences which are relevant to the subject of today's subcommittee hearing. First, the United States impose sanctions and even waged wars against recalcitrant states such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan and non state actors such as Al Qaeda and later the Islamic State with relative impunity. And even when confronting state adversaries against whom the use of kinetic force would have been prohibitively costly, such as North Korea and Iran, the imposition of sanctions became a preferred tool of statecraft for successive administrations and Congresses second US military command of the comments along with American Economic and Technological dominance gave various state and non state actors and incentive to pursue asymmetric strategies, for example, the clandestine employment of cyber criminal organizations and individual hackers by the foreign intelligence services of Russia, China, North Korea and other states. Third, this uni polar distribution of power gave targeted states and other disadvantaged actors and incentive to collaborate with one another to evade or subvert US sanctions. And finally, as the Biden administration's interim national security, strategic guidance acknowledges the distribution of power across the world is changing, creating new threats.
20:13 Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro: The United States now faces two great power adversaries a rising China and a declining and revanchist Russia, along with two regional power adversaries, Iran and North Korea. All four including their irrespective and their respective clients and allies will seek to evade sanctions.
20:38 Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro: Might behoove policymakers to perhaps lower their expectations about what coercive economic diplomacy alone can achieve.
25:39 Ivan Garces: We can benefit from increased cooperation between public and private sectors such as is contemplated with the proposed OFAC exchange and the Combating Illicit Finance Public Private Partnership Act, legislation noted for this hearing. Government should be in a position to be able to take, analyze and interpret information we see not only from financial institutions, but other industry stakeholders and connect the dots identifying trends and relationships across the financial system.
26:46 Lakshmi Kumar: US sanctions regime is expansive and currently includes more than 30 different sanctions programs.
27:00 Lakshmi Kumar: Despite the ever increasing reach of sanctions, with evidence showing that the number of sanction vessels imports rather than annual rate of 6%. oil exports by Iran and Venezuela and oil imports by North Korea keep increasing every year.
27:56 Lakshmi Kumar: It is unsurprising that a leading mechanism to evade sanctions involves the use of TBML techniques, I've learned after a year of the pandemic. TBML or trade based money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime and moving value to trade transactions. It includes tech in techniques like falsifying the origins of a commodity of good over invoicing under invoicing and Phantom invoicing where no goods really move for just money.
28:14 Lakshmi Kumar: TBML was particularly challenging because there are no international standards, even at the level of a financial Task Force and little regulation internationally. It is therefore the perfect ally for sanctions evaders.
28:35 Lakshmi Kumar: The Iranian government was able to pocket $100 billion by falsifying trade records.
28:42 Lakshmi Kumar: Similarly, the Venezuelan Government to get around US sanctions on its gold sector has flown its gold all over the world changing its origins. So the gold is now supposed to be from the Caribbean, from Colombia from Uganda from Dubai, barely anywhere but Venezuela.
29:08 Lakshmi Kumar: Erasing its history in this way means that the US has no way of knowing whether the gold it imports is the same goal that it is seeking to sanction. Sanctioned entities continues to look at the US as a safe haven to get around sanctions.
29:35 Lakshmi Kumar: Professionals that have helped Iran and North Korea evade sanctions invested their lucrative commissions in real estate through the EB five investor program and invest in commercial real estate and buying real estate in states like Alaska. Both commercial real estate in many of the jurisdictions where these investments take place are not part of the geographic targeting orders for real estate. Similarly, vehicles like private equity, hedge funds, venture capital funds that are exempt from carrying out customer due diligence obligations are also involved in sanctions evasion schemes. A recent FBI leak showed that London and New York hedge funds proposed using a scheme to sell prohibited items from sanctioned countries to the US.
30:12 Lakshmi Kumar: Finally, sanctions evasion does not just exploit the gaps in regulation. It exploits the lack of resources that enforcement agencies need to protect. The FinCEN files one problematic, revealed two different sanctions evasion schemes tied to Russia and Syria. It will file their source for financial institutions, but did not necessarily receive the treatment they should have given the resource constraints of the agency. The way forward therefore, is to prompt addressing regulatory gaps but also providing the requisite support to enforcement supervision and oversight agencies.
34:27 Jesse Spiro: Through blockchain analysis, we can confirm that adversarial nations terrorist organizations, malicious enabled cyber actors and transnational criminal organizations under US sanctions have used cryptocurrency in an attempt to weaken the impact or fully circumvent sanctions, just as they have done through traditional banks, trade based money laundering and cash.
40:10 Eric Lorber: The key to countering sanctions evasion is the ability to detect such activity. The Treasury Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis along with other members of the intelligence community as well as FinCEN should be provided with the tools necessary to identify sanctions evasion. A legislative proposal under consideration by this can be the OFAC fusion center act could help achieve this. This legislation would create an interagency group designed to share data and allow for better detection and disruption of illicit networks, providing the private sector with the right tools. In recent years, Treasury has armed the private sector with information on sanctions, evasion tactics and red flags that can help companies spot such evasion through a series of advisories combined with clearly signaling to the private sector, their compliance obligations and pursuing aggressive enforcement actions against those who fail to comply. This additional information can help the private sector more effectively counter evasion.
43:33 Eric Lorber: The number of transactions which are elicit that use Bitcoin or blockchain technology is actually fairly low percentage wise it's in I believe, below 1% or somewhere around there. So it's fairly small.
49:40 Eric Lorber: There needs to be political pressure put on those who are supporting and continue to support North Korea. It's it's not a secret that for example, China has created at least a permissive environment for North Korean operators to to work in the country. That was detailed most recently, I believe in that in the UN DPRK panel of experts report from I believe is March 2021. As well as North Korea maintains a series of financial facilitators throughout the world, including in I believe in Russia and China and other jurisdictions that helps North Korea evade US and UN sanctions and these individuals need to be shut down, need to be targeted, and pressure to put on the governments that are hosting them to kick them out of the country.
51:35 Eric Lorber: That's something that we tried to do and I tried to do while we were at Treasury was that clarify very clear the sanctions targets if you change the behavior you're engaged in, these sanctions will be lifted.
1:04:29 Rep. Madeleine Dean (PA): Ms. Kumar, I'd like to start with you. In your testimony, I read with interest how you discussed the role that United States real estate, especially commercial real estate plays in sanction evasion regimes. You specifically mentioned the geographic targeting order GTO issued by FINcen, which I might note includes 12 metropolitan areas only to require us title insurance companies to identify natural persons behind shell companies used in all cash purchases of residential real estate. Given the limited Metropolitan list covered by GTO and the fact that commercial real estate is not covered, can you can you speak to both of those problems? Number one, the limited number of metropolitan areas my own suburban Philadelphia or Philadelphia count among them, and also the fact that it's residential, not commercial. Where does this fall short in terms of our regulating evasion?
1:05:42 Lakshmi Kumar: The sanctions program doesn't just target big actors like Iran, North Korea. The sanctions program also targets individuals involved in drug trafficking. And what we see is a lot of those individuals often to evade sanctions, including sort of former officials of the Venezuelan administration, all move or hide assets and move it into real estate and the US real estate market is a popular Avenue. Now, when we talk about commercial real estate, you're absolutely right. And that the sort of often cited example of the Iranians owning that massive skyscraper in New York was a purchase of commercial real estate, it continues to be unrecognized. The EB5 investor program is investments that ultimately go into commercial real estate. Now a lot of this is particularly complex because commercial real estate involves multiple investors, it is not as simple as a residential purchase by a homeowner. To that end, we have to what is necessary is to sort of rethink how we are going to apply the GTO. The title insurance agents may not be the most relevant actors, however, to sort of identify gatekeepers that do continue to play a critical role in sort of putting together these transactions because commercial real estate transaction always take place through legal structures, they are never in the names of an individual. So identifying actors like lawyers, who often play a critical role in this as sort of the the pressure point at which you can conduct due diligence to know who is behind these transactions is one way forward. You've also rightly said that it only covers 12 metropolitan areas, and a lot of the evasion schemes that we often see tied to individuals, but also generally more generally, the use of real estate, you often see an equal split between cases that occur in GTO areas versus cases that occur in non GTO areas. And I will say that we have a report forthcoming in the next month that will actually that shows evidence that when looks at a series of reported cases that actually shows that over the last five years, the number of cases that occur in non-GTO areas actually slightly significantly more than GTO areas.
1:43:57 Rep. Warren Davidson (OH): Currently the SDN list statistics as of yesterday the 15th we have 277 aircraft, 3668 entities, 4603 individuals and 406 vessels.
1:44:40 Eric Lorber: The end goal is is twofold one or one of two. It's either to prevent them from engaging in illicit activity, right? So you mentioned an aircraft prevent that aircraft from shuffling or sending illicit drugs to a destination. Or it's to get the targets to actually change their behavior. So to essentially impose restrictions on them, to get them to say, 'well, this is not worth it.' We are no longer going to engage in material support for terrorism.
1:51:12 Rep. Jake Auchincloss (MA): Blockchain offer you an advantage in authenticating your identity over a different type of currency. Jesse Spiro: No, I would actually posit the complete opposite Congressman, what I would say is that the only vulnerabilities that I would address in relation to KYC are the fact that people could circumvent them. But even if they were to, if they're engaged in illicit activity that can be seen in relation to illicit crypto activity. It is going to be very difficult for them to do anything within the ecosystem.
1:51:59 Rep. Jake Auchincloss (MA): If you are able to advise Congress to take any steps that would influence OFAC's measures, what would you advise that we do? Jesse Spiro: I would just imply to apply congressmen more resources to that agency specifically in relation to the risks associated with cryptocurrency and sanctions evasion, wherein they can produce more designations that include cryptocurrency wallets, because as identifiers for the private sector when they have access to that information, that is how they can potentially mitigate the illicit activity. And because of the activity with cryptocurrency, when a wallet is put on that designation list, any associated activity, or within a designation, excuse me, any associated activity and legacy activity in relation to that look back can also be visible.
Hearing: Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection, Committee on Financial Services: Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, February 25, 2021
- Iman Boukadoum
- Senior Manager, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Lecia Brooks
- Executive Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Daniel Glaser
- Global Head Jurisdictional Services and Head of Washington, DC Office at K2 Integrity
- Senior Advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Board member at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority
- Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Daniel Rogers
- Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Global Disinformation Index
- Daveed Gertenstein-Ross
- CEO of Valens Global
03:02 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): As we heard from Merrick Garland during his confirmation hearing earlier this week, the country faces a 'more dangerous period in the wake of January 6th, than we did after the Oklahoma City bombing,' the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.
03:28 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): In the wake of the attacks of September 11th, we recast the entire federal government and worked feverishly to defund terrorist streams. To effectively disrupt domestic extremist groups, we need to better understand their financing.
03:54 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Unlike ISIS, for example, these organizations are not pyramid shaped where funding comes from a handful of easily disruptable areas. An online fundraising drive for a legitimate charity, and one that helps support an extremist group can look very similar.
04:57 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): We need to conscientiously be mindful of the civil liberties concerns at play here. Unlike international extremist groups, law enforcement is constrained by the Constitution when dealing with domestic extremists, balancing the desire to give law enforcement the tools necessary to disrupt these groups with the need to respect the rights of all Americans and the Constitution to which we have all pledged an oath is essential.
05:36 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): While we all live through a brutal event on January 6th, undertaken by right wing extremists, no location on the political spectrum has a monopoly on extremism or violence.
10:08 Rep. Maxine Waters (CA): We're here against the backdrop of the January 6th insurrection. A deplorable yet predictable display of white supremacists such as the Proud Boys, the oathkeepers QAnon and others and nationalist violence incited by President Trump against the members of this body and against democracy itself.
12:51 Iman Boukadoum: Last month violent insurrection heavily fueled by white supremacy and white nationalism shocked the world.
13:52 Iman Boukadoum: We know, however, that even well intentioned national security laws are invariably weaponized against black, brown and Muslim communities. And that white nationalist violence is not prioritized making that policy failure the fundamental reason for what transpired on January 6th, not lack of legal authority. For this reason we oppose any legislation that would create new charges for domestic terrorism or any enhanced or additional criminal penalties. The federal government, including the Treasury Department, has many tools at its disposal to investigate. And also the FBI and DOJ have 50 statutes, at least 50 statutes and over a dozen criminal statutes, 50 terrorism related statutes, excuse me and over a dozen criminal statutes that they can use. They just need to use them to target white nationalist violence.
19:33 Lecia Brooks: Today, some white nationalist groups and personalities are raising funds through the distribution of propaganda itself. In November SPLC researchers reported that dozens of extremist groups were earning 1000s of dollars per month on a popular live streaming platform called D-Live.
20:21 Lecia Brooks: Crowdfunding is also being exploited by hate groups to earn money in this new decentralized landscape. Crowdfunding sites played a critical role in the capital insurrection, providing monetary support that allowed people to travel to Washington DC. They've also played a crucial role in raising hundreds of 1000s of dollars in legal fees for extremists.
20:43 Lecia Brooks: The violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 should serve as a wake up call for Congress, the Biden administration, Internet companies, law enforcement and public officials at every level.
23:11 Daniel Glaser: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about how the US government can employ similar tools and strategies against white nationalists and other domestic terrorist groups as it has employed against global jihadist groups over the past two decades.
23:33 Daniel Glaser: During my time at the Treasury Department, I fought to cut off funding to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and Hezbollah, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bush Administration, and eventually as the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the Obama Administration. My primary responsibility was to lead the design and implementation of strategies to attack the financial networks of these groups and other threats to our country's national security. And while we should never let down our guard with respect to those still potent terrorist organizations, it has become tragically clear that there are domestic extremist groups that in some ways present an even greater threat to our ideals and our democracy. We have the responsibility to target those groups with the same determination, creativity and sense of purpose that we displayed in the years following 9/11.
27:42 Daniel Glaser: Potential measures in Treasury's toolbox include the issuance of guidance to financial institutions on financial type policies, methodologies and red flags, the establishment of public private partnerships the use of information sharing authorities and the use of geographic targeting orders. Taken together these measures will strengthen the ability of financial institutions to identify, report and impede the financial activity of domestic extremist groups and will ensure that the US financial system is a hostile environment for these groups.
30:10 Daniel Rogers: These groups leverage the Internet as a primary means of disseminating their toxic ideologies and soliciting funds. One only needs to search Amazon or Etsy for the term q anon to uncover shirts, hats, mugs, books and other paraphernalia that both monetize and further popular popularized the domestic violent extremist threat. Images from that fateful day last month are rife with sweatshirts that say, Camp outfits that until recently were for sale on websites like Teespring and cafe press. As we speak at least 24 individuals indicted for their role in the January 6 insurrection, including eight members of the proud boys have used crowdfunding site gifts and go to raise nearly a quarter million dollars in donations. And it's not just about the money. This merchandise acts as a sort of team jersey that helps these groups recruit new members and form further hatred towards their targets. We analyze the digital footprints of 73 groups across 60 websites, and 225 social media accounts and their use of 54 different online fundraising mechanisms, including 47 payment platforms and five different cryptocurrencies, ultimately finding 191 instances of hate groups using online fundraising services to support their activities. The funding mechanisms including included both primary platforms like Amazon, intermediary platforms, such as Stripe or Shopify crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, payments facilitators like PayPal, monetized content streaming services, such as YouTube, super chats, and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. All of these payment mechanisms were linked to websites or social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, telegram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, gab, picshoot and others. The sheer number of companies I just mentioned, is the first clue to the scale and the scope of the problem.
31:40 Daniel Rogers: We also found that a large fraction of the groups we studied have a tax exempt status with the IRS, a full 100% of anti muslim groups. 75% of anti-immigrant groups, and 70% of anti LGBTQ groups have 501-C-3 or 501-C-4 status. Over 1/3 of the militia groups that we identified, including the oathkeepers, whose leadership was recently indicted on charges related to January 6, have tax exempt status. This status gives them access to a whole spectrum of charity fundraising tools, from Facebook donations to amazon smile, to the point where most of the most common fundraising platform we identified across all of our data was Charity Navigator.
32:30 Daniel Glaser: I think it's important to remember that if you want to be able to use a cryptocurrency in the real economy, to any scale, it at some point doesn't need to be converted into actual fiat currency into dollars. That's the place where the Treasury Department does regulate cryptocurrencies.
42:10 Daniel Glaser: Cryptocurrency exchanges are regarded as money service businesses. They have full customer due diligence requirements. They have full money laundering program requirements, they have reporting requirements. The US Treasury Department just last month, issued a proposed rule relating to unhosted wallets of cryptocurrencies. And that's out for notice and comment. Right now. It addresses the particular issue of, of wallets that are not hosted on a particular exchange. And I think it's an important rule that's out there and I do encourage people to take a look at it, the comment period closes in May, and then hopefully, Treasury will be able to take regulatory action to close that particular vulnerability.
42:46 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Mr. Glaser, you you, though suggested something new that I'd like to give you a maybe 30 seconds, 42 seconds I have left to elaborate on you said you were taught you were hopeful for sanctions like authorities against domestic actors. You did not to constitutional civil liberties concerns. But give us another 30 seconds on exactly what you mean. And perhaps most importantly, what sort of fourth amendment overlay should accompany such authority? Daniel Glaser: Well, thank you, thank you for the question. The fact is, the Treasury Department really does not have a lot of authority to go after purely domestic groups in the way that it goes after global terrorist organizations that simply doesn't have that authority. You could imagine an authority that does allow for the designation of domestic organizations, it would have to take into account that, the constitutional restrictions. When you look when you read the a lot of the court decisions, there's concerns could be addressed in the statute, there's concerns. A lot of the scrutiny is heightened because sanctions are usually accompanied with acid freezes. But you could imagine sanctions that don't involve asset freezes that involve transaction bounds that involve regulatory type of requirements that you see in Section 311 of the Patriot Act. So there's a variety of ways that both the due process standards could be raised from what we see in the global context.
44:37 Daniel Rogers: The days leading up to the insurrection, the oathkeepers founder Stuart Rhodes appeared on a podcast and solicited charitable donations to the oathkeepers Educational Fund. It can only be presumed that these funds which listeners were notably able to deduct from their federal taxes, went to transporting and lodging members of the group slated to participate in the ensuing riots.
46:06 Rep. French Hill (AZ): In looking at the draft legislation that the majority noticed with this hearing, one bill stuck out to me and I think it's a good follow up for your from your most recent exchange. It seeks to amend title 31 to require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a program to allow designated employees of financial institutions to access classified information related to terrorism, sedition, and insurrection. Now, over the past three congresses, we've talked about the concept of a fusion center, not unlike we do in monitoring cyber risk and cyber crimes for this terror finance arena. We've never been able to come ashore on it legislatively. So I found that interesting. However, I'm concerned that when you deputize bank employees without any oversight, as to how the information would be protected or if there's really even a need for that.
46:53 Rep. French Hill (AZ): Could you describe how banks share information with law enforcement today and how they provide feedback on how we might change these protocols or if they're if that protocol change is necessary. Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: Thank you ranking member, there are four primary ways that banks share information now. The first is suspicious activity reports or the SAR. Financial institutions have to file these documents with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN. When there's a suspected case of money laundering or fraud, the star is designed to monitor activity and finance related industries that are out of the ordinary are a precursor to illegal activity, or can threaten public safety. Second, there's law enforcement's 314 a power under the Patriot Act, in which obtains potential lead information from financial institutions via FinCEN. Third, law enforcement can use its subpoena power, if a court issues a subpoena pursuant to an investigation, or to an administrative proceeding and forth where there are blocked assets pursuant to OFAC authorities, sanctions or otherwise, banks are required to report block assets back to OFAC. The information sharing in my view is currently quite effective. Treasury in particular has a very strong relationship with the US financial institutions.
48:24 Rep. French Hill (AZ): On 314 in the Patriot Act, is that a place where we could, in a protected appropriate way make a change that relates to this domestic issue? Or is that, in your view, too challenging? Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: No, I think it's a place where you could definitely make a change. The 314-A process allows an investigator to canvass financial institutions for potential lead information that might otherwise never be uncovered. It's designed to allow disparate pieces of information to be identified, centralized and evaluated. So when law enforcement submits a request to Finicen, to get information from financial institutions, it has to submit a written certification that each individual or entity about which the information is sought is engaged in or reasonably suspected of engaging in terrorist activity or money laundering. I think that in some cases 314-A, may already be usable, but I think it's worth looking at the 314-A process to see if in this particular context, when you're looking at domestic violent extremism, as opposed to foreign terrorist organizations, there are some tweaks that would provide ability to get leads in this manner.
1:15:15 Iman Boukadoum: What we submit is that the material support for terrorism statute, as we know, there are two of them. There's one with an international Nexus that is required. And there's one that allows for investigating material support for terrorism, domestic terrorism, in particular, as defined in the patriot act with underlying statutes that allows for any crimes that take place within the United States that have no international nexus. And we believe that that second piece of material support for terrorism statute has been neglected and can be nicely used with the domestic terrorism definition as laid out in the Patriot Act. And we hope that statutory framework will be used to actually go after violent white nationalists and others.
1:50:25 Daniel Rogers: I think there are a number of regulatory fronts that all kind of go to the general problem of disinformation as a whole. And I don't know that we have the time to get into all of them here, but I think they, they certainly fall into three three big categories, with the one most relevant to today's discussion being this idea of platform government and platform liability, that, you know, our data is showing how what a key role, these sorts of platforms play in facilitating the activities of these groups. And the fact that the liability is so nebulous or non existent through things like Section 230 and whatnot, which what we found is that there's there's already policies in place against all of these hate and extremist groups, but they're just simply not enforced. And so updating that kind of platform liability to help drive enforcement I think is one of the key areas that that that we can focus on.
Design by Only Child Imaginations