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Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Corporate Transparency Act (S.1717), the Senate companion to the bipartisan House bill (H.R.3089) aimed at ending the abuse of anonymous shell companies.
The bill would require the government to collect information about the identities of the real, “beneficial” owners of companies operating in the U.S. If enacted, this would give law enforcement an important tool for investigating a number of crimes that harm the public, including consumer scams, defrauding the government, and other crimes.
“The introduction of this bill signals that putting the bad guys behind bars is a bipartisan issue,” said Allie Robins, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Program Associate. “Senator Rubio and Senator Wyden know that the U.S. shouldn’t be a safe haven for criminals and scammers, and that it’s our responsibility to ensure that our incorporation system isn’t being misused and abused by anonymous shell companies shielding criminals.”
If enacted, these bills would give law enforcement an important tool for investigating a number of crimes that are facilitated through anonymous shell companies. The Corporate Transparency Act would also:
- Establish minimum beneficial ownership disclosure requirements that would mandate that a company must provide beneficial owners’ names, current addresses, and legal identification upon incorporation.
- Require the Treasury Department to collect beneficial ownership information if a state opts to not enact its own procedures.
- Provide civil penalties for persons who submit false or fraudulent beneficial ownership information, or who fail to provide complete or updated beneficial ownership information.
Robins continued, “Since the House companion was introduced a few weeks ago, multiple Members from both parties have added their names as cosponsors. This solution is supported not only across the aisle but by small businesses, banks, law enforcement, faith groups, and a number of other organizations, showing that stronger incorporation laws would have far reaching impacts.”
As of today, the companion bill in the House (H.R. 3089) has five Republican and five Democratic co-sponsors. U.S. PIRG urges Congress to continue working towards bringing this legislation to fruition and empower law enforcement to root out some of the shadiest characters operating in the U.S. today.
Click here to read more about crimes and wrongdoing facilitated by anonymous shell companies.
Click here to read the press release from Senator Rubio and Wyden.
Click here to read the full text of the Senator Rubio and Wyden bill.
Click here to read the press release from Representative Maloney and King on the Corporate Transparency Act.
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