U.S. Legislators Propose Expansion of FinCEN’s Mission
06 Mar 2019

U.S. lawmakers are seeking to expand the mission of the country’s financial intelligence unit by granting it more authority to fight the financing of domestic terrorism and the misuse of cryptocurrencies.

Under proposed legislation, the mission statement of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) would be amended to allow the bureau to target all forms of terrorism rather than only foreign terrorist organizations.

The bill would also clarify that FinCEN’s authority to combat money laundering and terror financing includes “matters involving emerging technologies or value that substitutes for currency, and similar efforts.”

The measure would put tribal territories under the jurisdiction of FinCEN, which in addition to operating as a national financial intelligence unit also serves as a supervisory agency and regulator.

Freshman Reps. Jennfier Wexton (D-VA) and Denver Riggleman (D-VA) introduced The FinCEN Improvement Act of 2019 in late February, when Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

An earlier iteration of the bill, introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) in 2018, passed the House of Representatives in September but failed to advance in the Senate.

“This is an important step in modernizing FinCEN and ensuring our law enforcement and intelligence communities can detect and prevent criminals and terrorist networks from using virtual currencies to move illicit funds,” Perlmutter said at the time.

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