Leaked Papers Expose Need for US to Act on Enablers of Dirty Money

The U.S. government should respond to the Pandora Papers – an investigation by a group of news media outlets based on 11.9 million private financial records – with sweeping and forceful policy reforms, just as it did after past leaks about offshore secrecy practices of wealthy elites, such as the Panama Papers. The latest jarring revelations expose how the U.S. financial system plays a central role in hiding the dubious wealth of corrupt officials. It suggests that the policy response, too, must be made in America. That means regulating the U.S.-based professional enablers of corruption through swift action by the Treasury Department and Congress, with the centerpiece of the initiative being ambitious legislation that a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced on Wednesday.

In 2016, just a few weeks after the revelation of the Panama Papers, a trove of confidential documents from a law firm that set up secret shell companies, the Treasury Department rolled out new financial transparency rules and sent Congress legislation that President Barack Obama immediately called for outlawing anonymous shell companies. A year ago, another leak of financial documents dubbed the FinCEN Files helped push that shell company legislation over the finish line on Capitol Hill.

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