Sunday, January 3, 2021

Anonymous Shell Corporations Are Now Illegal In the United States

I always thought incorporations were a state matter but there is probably some sort of supremacy clause argument here. Too lazy to check so we'll just go with the press release from the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition, January 1:

Landmark Bill Ending Anonymous U.S. Companies Is Enacted

Historic Anti-Corruption Reform Becomes Law after More than a Decade-Long Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An historic anti-corruption measure ending anonymous companies in the United States became law on Friday, capping a more than decade-long campaign by transparency advocates, after both Chambers of Congress voted to override the president’s veto of the annual defense bill.  The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, which led the organizing effort, praised the enactment of the Corporate Transparency Act, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Ian Gary, executive director of the FACT Coalition, issued the following statement:

“After more than a decade-long campaign to end the formation of anonymous shell companies that are abused by the criminal and the corrupt, the United States has enacted historic reforms to protect Americans and our financial system from abuse. We applaud Senate and House lawmakers for passing this critical, bipartisan anti-corruption reform by overwhelming margins. We look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration to ensure the strong and timely implementation of the new law.

“For years, experts routinely ranked anonymous shell companies — where the true, ‘beneficial’ owners are unknown — as the biggest weakness in our anti-money laundering safeguards.  Virtually every national security expert, law enforcement official, and human rights advocate that looked at the issue called for an end to anonymous companies.  It’s the single most important step we could take to better protect our financial system from abuse.

“For more than a decade, the FACT Coalition and our members have worked tirelessly to assemble a powerful alliance of ideologically-diverse constituencies to back an end to anonymous companies.  Supporters of transparency eventually included hundreds of national security experts, police and prosecutors, banks and credit unions, CEOs, the real estate sector, large businesses, small business owners, faith groups, anti-human trafficking groups, human rights organizations, global development NGOs, anti-corruption advocates, labor unions, and conservative and liberal think tanks. The campaign was so successful that the State of Delaware and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — both of which had previously opposed reform — ultimately endorsed transparency....

....MORE, including fact sheets, backgrounders etc. It's sort of a big deal. 

I wonder how this will apply to political dark money and the shell games (see what I did there?) that go on with 501c3's and 501c4's.

On second thought maybe I should take a look at the CTA.