Congressman Cleaver’s bipartisan bill to curb money laundering and illicit financial activities was unanimously voted out of committee and will await a vote on the House Floor. Cleaver’s bill, H.R. 2514, the Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology, and Examiner Reform (COUNTER) Act, would implement a number of changes and additions to the regulations borne from the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which dictates banks’ responsibilities to help the government detect and root out illegal financial transactions.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II

Signed into law in 1970, the BSA was last overhauled following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The COUNTER Act would be the largest reform to the BSA since 2001.

“Since the last significant anti-money laundering reforms in 2001, the national security threats our country faces have evolved profoundly,” said Congressman Cleaver. “As nefarious actors adapt to the new world of virtual currencies, dark web marketplaces, and illicit technologies, it is absolutely critical that Congress, the banks, and our laws adapt with them. That’s why I think we’ve been able to gin up a lot of bipartisan support.”

The COUNTER Act would empower the U.S. Treasury Department to protect our national security and safeguard our financial systems by codifying an information-sharing program between law enforcement, financial institutions, and the Treasury Department, better ensuring the detection and capture of illegal activity. In addition, the bill will provide needed relief to small banks and credit unions by updating outdated regulations weighing on these smaller institutions while still reinforcing our national security. The last major component of the bill would close a number of loopholes that have allowed for financial crimes to be committed, helping to pull our banking regulations into the 21st century and positioning us to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Congressman Cleaver and the Financial Services Committee have been proactive in researching and regulating the innovative technologies of the 21st century, creating taskforces to look into FinTech and Artificial intelligence, one of which Congressman Cleaver has been appointed. One way the COUNTER Act fosters innovation is by creating “Innovation Labs” which encourage financial regulators to work with companies to implement inventive approaches to meeting lawful requirements. These innovation labs ensure companies will have the flexibility needed to implement new technologies while still complying with existing law and fortifying our national security.

“The importance of reforming our banking regulations and bringing them into the 21st century is vital to consumers, community banks, and our national security. Perhaps of more importance is showing the American people that Congress still has the ability to come together and get things done in a civil and constructive manner on behalf of our constituents. So, let’s get this meaningful, bipartisan bill through the House and Senate and on the President’s desk for his signature.”

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.