Earlier this year, U.S. President Joe Biden requested an increase in spending for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) to $210 million. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives (the “House”) passed a bill fulfilling that request, increasing FinCEN’s budget by over 30% to $210,330,000. This is the exact figure requested by FinCEN, which also seeks to supplement its budget by another $12.57 million from other sources. On Tuesday, the bill was referred to the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. Senate, which still needs to weigh in on FinCEN’s final budget.
FinCEN’s budget has been an important and ongoing issue. Citing budgetary constraints, FinCEN has struggled to implement the huge array of tasks and deadlines imposed upon it by Congress through the Anti-Money Laundering Act (“AMLA”) and Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”). These tasks include approximately 40 rulemaking or other requirements, including periodic Congressional reporting on implementation efforts, assessments, and findings, including, but not limited to:
- Establishing a national database regarding beneficial owners of companies;
- Establishing priorities regarding national anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism;
- Enhancing the whistleblower provisions; and
- Finalizing any rulemaking regarding the real estate industry.
FinCEN advocated for an increase in its budget, which would allow it to add oversight of the financial sector, strengthen corporate accountability, provide adequate support to law enforcement and investigative entities, and modernize the sanctions process. Further, FinCEN could increase its staff to about 420 employees to meet the needs of the AMLA and CTA.
The increased funding comes on the heels of this month’s amendment in the U.S. Congress to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), which we previously blogged about here. With an amendment that is arguably more sweeping than the AMLA, and the outstanding requirements under the AMLA and CTA, FinCEN needs the additional resources to be able to meet the needs and requirements of the recent legislation.