Continued Government Shutdown Hampering Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Efforts
January 18, 2019
As the partial government shutdown approaches the end of its fourth week, many federal agencies are facing escalating backlogs of critical work. US agencies addressing financial crime are not exempt from the limited operational resources resulting from the shutdown. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI), and the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) have each had to limit their critical operations by reducing staff and suspending certain activities.
Despite overseeing the country’s Anti-Money Laundering framework, FinCEN has lost 54% of its staff since the shutdown started on December 22. This reduction in staff has required the bureau to make decisions to cut certain programs with the details outlined in the Lapse in Appropriation Plan. Activities that are not suspended during the shutdown are being operated by a heavily reduced staff, meaning that certain AML enforcement actions will take longer to conclude and the millions of AML filings and currency transaction reports submitted daily are not being quickly addressed.
Suspended activities include responses to new routine foreign financial intelligence unit requests to exchange information and on-going efforts to issue regulations and guidance/outreach to industry.