Recently, PIA joined a coalition of trade associations in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressing our opposition to the Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security (ENABLERS) Act, which passed the House as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The ENABLERS Act would require many businesses to collect and report ownership information and suspicious transactions; it would represent a broad expansion of the Corporate Transparency Act’s reporting requirements, even though those requirements have not been implemented yet, so no one knows how effective they could be. The ENABLERS Act claims its goal is to increase reporting by “professional service providers who serve as key gatekeepers to the U.S. financial system,” but it would cover most businesses’ owners and board members, as well as employees engaged in money management, payment processing, or wire transfers, among other activities. Covered individuals would be subject to Treasury Department audits at first, and the Act requires Treasury to recommend added enforcement tools after its first year of implementation.
PIA has several concerns about the bill. First, the federal government’s collection of this new data increases the data’s vulnerability to breach and theft. Second, the burden for providing the data will fall on the businesses themselves, and, particularly in our current economic environment, small businesses will be ill-equipped to absorb the costs of this additional reporting. Finally, ENABLERS Act supporters are already pushing Congress to make the resulting database public, which could result in easier access for those who would use such data for nefarious purposes.
PIA will continue to monitor the progress of the NDAA and the future of the ENABLERS Act.