Warner, Rounds, Reed, Romney Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Enforce Sanctions on Terrorist Organizations Like Hamas
Dec 07 2023
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) today introduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on terrorist organizations like Hamas by applying sanctions to foreign parties that facilitate financial transactions with terrorists.
Currently, these sanctions are imposed only in limited circumstances, primarily on the terrorist group Hezbollah following passage of the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act in 2015. The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act introduced today will expand this type of sanctions to cover all U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), including Hamas, and other foreign parties that are controlled by or act on behalf of those FTOs.
“The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act will make sure that the Treasury Department has the tools necessary to enforce our sanctions against Hamas and other terror groups,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m pleased to join Senators Rounds, Reed, and Romney in introducing this bipartisan legislation to improve our national security.”
“It is critical that the Department of the Treasury has the necessary counter-terrorism tools to combat modern threats,” said Sen. Rounds. “The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act takes commonsense steps toward rooting out terrorism by sanctioning foreign financial institutions and foreign digital asset companies that assist them in committing these heinous acts. Cutting off funding for terrorist organizations at the source will save lives. I am pleased to co-lead this bipartisan legislation that takes decisive action to disrupt terrorist finance networks.”
“It is critical to bolster the Treasury Department’s tools to protect our national and economic security. With this bill, we are forcing foreign financial institutions and foreign crypto firms to choose between doing business with terrorist organizations or maintaining access to the U.S. financial system,” said Sen. Reed. “We must protect the integrity of our financial system from new and emerging threats from terrorist organizations, including Hamas that carried out the despicable attacks on Israel on October 7.”
“The October 7 attacks on Israel perpetrated by Hamas have made it more urgent and necessary for the U.S. to counter the role that cryptocurrency plays in the financing of terrorism. Our legislation would expand financial sanctions to cover all terrorist organizations—including Hamas—and it would equip the Treasury Department with additional resources to counter terrorism and address emerging threats involving digital assets,” said Sen. Romney.
Under the terms of the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is required to identify any foreign bank or foreign digital asset transaction facilitator that knowingly facilitates transactions with an FTO or related party. Once these actors are identified, the bill requires imposition of sanctions on them, restricting either their use of U.S. correspondent bank accounts (in the case of a bank), or barring their digital asset or other transactions with U.S. persons (in the case of a digital asset transaction facilitator).
The bill also contains a key provision from the Crypto-Asset National Security Enhancement and Enforcement (CANSEE) Act the senators previously introduced, giving FinCEN authority to restrict transactions with “primary money laundering concerns” that do not involve a U.S. correspondent bank account. This provision will provide FinCEN with appropriate tools to address threats involving digital assets and non-traditional finance networks, just as they currently can where correspondent accounts are involved.
The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act also authorizes the resources the Treasury Department needs to carry out these programs.
A copy of the full bill text is available here.