The ILLICIT CASH Act in Defense Authorization Bill Poses Privacy Concerns

Advocacy News
July 29, 2020
By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs

Sometimes, policy proposals relevant to PHCC members can pop up in legislation that doesn’t exactly seem relevant. Such was the case with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation that authorizes funding for the Department of Defense.

As with most authorization bills, the House and Senate each took up their own versions of the NDAA. After passage, each chamber will appoint a bipartisan group of members to a conference committee that will reconcile the two bills. The finished product will go back to Congress for a final vote before sending it to the President for his signature.

There is a provision in the House version of the bill that attaches the Bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act (ILLICIT CASH Act in the Senate), a bill granting broad authority to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to collect information on individuals with “beneficial ownership” of businesses.

On its face, the bill is meant to be a tool to deter money laundering. However, the bill includes provisions that require the reporting of any individual with a beneficial ownership stake in a company that opens an account with a financial institution to FinCEN. Furthemore, the legislation defers to FinCEN on determining the definition of “beneficial ownership” and compiling a beneficial ownership database that law enforcement would be able to access without a judicial warrant.

This provision was not included in the Senate NDAA, but it was included in the House version. The provision does not have bicameral support, which diminishes its chances to be included in the final bill during reconciliation, but its bipartisan nature keeps its chances alive. PHCC will continue to track progress on this legislation and will advocate vigorously for the privacy rights of our small business contractors.

Director of Legislative Affairs
, PHCC-National Association
Mark Valentini is the Director of Legislative Affairs for PHCC—National Association. A seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill and with several national trade associations, Valentini applies his expertise in public policy, workforce and training, and insurance and tax matters to advocate on behalf of all PHCC members.

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