Attorney General Paxton sent a multistate comment letter to the Policy Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), which is a federal entity that aids state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in stopping financial crime. The letter is in opposition to FinCEN’s proposed rules that would add new obstacles for law enforcement looking to obtain certain information that is critical to prosecuting financial crimes.
The multistate coalition objects to a requirement that law enforcement agencies provide a new, separate written justification to FinCEN and proof that they have received access authorization by a local court of jurisdiction. Further, the letter also objects to FinCEN’s review of that authorization, which would likely block or delay the process of receiving FinCEN records.
Under federal rules, FinCEN already stipulates that agencies may only use its information as a guide and any information gleaned must be authenticated through another source. Congress has in addition made known its intention that FinCEN provide information to law enforcement without undue delay. Not only would the new rules threaten to delay justice and the prosecution of bad actors, they could prevent justice from being done altogether in certain cases.
The letter states: “Attorneys general have repeatedly supported a common-sense beneficial ownership scheme that will enable us to ‘reduce criminals’ and terrorists’ abuse of our institutions,’ and ensure that we have timely and efficient access to beneficial ownership information in our criminal, civil, and administrative cases. . . . If the regulatory scheme is unduly burdensome, or if the procedures FinCEN develops result in delays during fast-moving investigations, however, the beneficial ownership database will not be highly useful to . . . law enforcement agencies . . . as Congress requires.”
To read the full comment letter, click here.