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Co-Chairman Cohen, Ranking Member Wilson Introduce Counter-Kleptocracy Act

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) today intro­duced the Counter-Kleptocracy Act. The leg­is­la­tion con­sol­i­dates sev­en bipar­ti­san counter-klep­toc­ra­cy bills led by mem­bers of the Helsinki Commission and the Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy dur­ing the 117th Congress.

Kleptocracy threat­ens nation­al secu­ri­ty and human rights. It under­pins every glob­al chal­lenge we face today. From cli­mate change and COVID to orga­nized crime and human traf­fick­ing, cor­rup­tion either caus­es or exac­er­bates the prob­lem. The United States should do all it can in fac­ing down klep­to­crat­ic regimes.  I am hap­py to sup­port President Biden’s procla­ma­tion that coun­ter­ing cor­rup­tion is a ‘core U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­est’ by spon­sor­ing the Counter-Kleptocracy Act,” said Co-Chairman Cohen.

Corruption is the lifeblood of dic­ta­tors and the author­i­tar­i­an sys­tem they seek to export. Foreign cor­rup­tion is seep­ing into demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tems, under­min­ing them from with­in, and it is high time we treat cor­rup­tion like the press­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty threat that it is. The Counter-Kleptocracy Act—which includes sev­en bipar­ti­san bills and rep­re­sents the efforts of a large group of bipar­ti­san and bicam­er­al members—will final­ly pro­vide the author­i­ties and trans­paren­cy we need to counter this threat,” said Rep. Wilson.

The Counter-Kleptocracy Act includes the fol­low­ing counter-klep­toc­ra­cy bills:

  • Revealing and Explaining Visa Exclusions for Accountability and Legitimacy (REVEAL) Act (H.R. 4557S. 2392), intro­duced by Co-Chairman Cohen & Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01), and Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and Commissioner Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)—Enables the exec­u­tive branch to reveal the names of human rights abusers and klep­to­crats banned under Immigration and Nationality Act sec­tion 212(a)(3)© for “poten­tial­ly seri­ous adverse for­eign pol­i­cy con­se­quences,” a major pro­vi­sion for ban­ning bad actors.
  • Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention (TRAP) Act (H.R. 4806S. 2010), intro­duced by Co-Chairman Cohen and Rep. Wilson, and Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) and Chairman Cardin—Establishes pri­or­i­ties of U.S. engage­ment at INTERPOL, iden­ti­fies areas for improve­ment in the U.S. government’s response to INTERPOL abuse, and pro­tects the U.S. judi­cial sys­tem from abu­sive INTERPOL notices.
  • Combating Global Corruption Act (H.R. 4322S. 14), intro­duced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and Rep. María Elvira Salazar (FL-27), and Chairman Cardin and Sen. Todd Young (IN)—Creates a coun­try-by-coun­try tiered report­ing require­ment based on com­pli­ance with anti-cor­rup­tion norms and com­mit­ments. Leaders of those coun­tries in the low­est tier will be con­sid­ered for Global Magnitsky sanctions.
  • Foreign Corruption Accountability Act (H.R. 3887), intro­duced by Rep. John Curtis (UT-03) and Rep. Malinowski—Authorizes visa bans on for­eign per­sons who use state pow­er to engage in acts of cor­rup­tion against any pri­vate per­sons and pub­licly names them.
  • Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (H.R. 4737), intro­duced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Rep. Curtis—Criminalizes bribery demands by for­eign officials.
  • Golden Visa Accountability Act (H.R. 4142), intro­duced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and Rep. Malinowski—Creates a U.S.-led data­base to pre­vent the abuse of investor visas allow­ing for­eign cor­rupt offi­cials to move around the world freely and covert­ly and enjoy ill-got­ten gains.
  • Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act (H.R. 3781S. 2010), intro­duced by Rep. Malinowski and Rep. Curtis, and Helsinki Commissioners Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Sen. Rubio—Creates a pub­lic Department of Justice web­site doc­u­ment­ing the amount of mon­ey “stolen from the peo­ple” by cor­rupt offi­cials in each coun­try and “recov­ered by the United States.”

Helsinki Commissioners Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08), Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04) are orig­i­nal cospon­sors of the leg­is­la­tion, along with Rep. Malinowski, Rep. Curtis, Rep. Jackson Lee, Rep. Salazar, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rep. French Hill (AR-02), Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03).

The Counter-Kleptocracy Act has been endorsed by the fol­low­ing orga­ni­za­tions: Academics Stand Against Poverty, Accountability Lab, Africa Faith and Justice Network, Anti-Corruption Data Collective, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (found­ed by Alexey Navalny), Centre for the Study of Corruption – University of Sussex, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Crude Accountability, EG Justice, Estonian American National Council, Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, Free Russia Foundation, Freedom House, Global Financial Integrity, Human, Rights First, Integrity Initiatives International, International Coalition Against Illicit Economies (ICAIE), Joint Baltic American National Committee, Jubilee USA Network, Never Again Coalition, Open Contracting Partnership, Oxfam America, Public Citizen, Repatriation Group International, The ONE Campaign, The Sentry, Transparency International USA, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and UNISHKA Research Service.


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