Tags: Broad | Coalition | Urges | U.S. | Guard | Financial | Privacy

Broad Coalition Urges U.S. to Guard Financial Privacy

Friday, 18 May 2001 12:00 AM

Jansen is in Paris this week monitoring OECD efforts to undermine our privacy under the guise of "investigations regarding financial crimes."

"We oppose the adoption of privacy-violating rules no matter how they are implemented or what they are called: FDIC's Know Your Customer, Wolfsberg Principles, or under the guise of a 'best practice,'" Jansen said.

The letter was signed by a broad coalition of 43 organizations that represent a diverse and broad cross-section of American society. The letter requests that O'Neill "make a clear statement instituting policies that respect financial privacy and that the Treasury Department opposes the type of reporting requirements being advanced by the OECD and FATF."

"Financial privacy gives individuals a way to safeguard their civil liberties - and maybe their lives." Jansen added, "This type of controversial government-mandated spying is an Echelon-type system for financial transactions and is open to the same types of abuse."

A copy of the letter is attached.

For more information visit the Web site www.freecongress.org

The Honorable Paul H. O'Neill

May 15, 2001

Dear Secretary O'Neill,

The undersigned organizations, representing a diverse and broad cross-section of American society, are concerned that the Administration is not adequately safeguarding privacy in the context of certain international initiatives in the area of investigations regarding financial crimes. Specifically, we are concerned that the proposals of the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for increased bank reporting on customers do not respect our financial privacy.

We recognize your increased concern for the tax implications with the OECD and the FATF but are concerned that you have not made privacy a sufficient priority. The current proposals of OECD and FATF attempt to institute the popularly rejected "Know Your Customer" financial regulation, thereby sidestepping the domestic legislative process. We are concerned about the attempt to get Know Your Customer adopted as an international "best practice" under the guise of increasing transparency.

Over 300,000 citizens filed comments against the Know Your Customer proposal under the Clinton Administration. We are disappointed that the Bush Administration continues to pursue an approach that Larry Lindsey has described as ineffective: 99.999% of all Currency Transaction Reports filed are on law-abiding citizens going about their normal business. The Suspicious Activities Reports' approach discriminates against the poor, as well as racial and ethnic minorities.

The OECD and FATF's campaigns against banking secrecy and "harmful tax competition" are problematic for several reasons. This approach undermines the public confidence between individuals and their financial institutions, accountants and lawyers. These policies would likely distort capital inflows to the United States and could act, effectively, as capital controls. Economic dislocations to affected countries could lead to unintended political, foreign policy and immigration concerns. Our modern economy requires a liberal capital policy that engenders the consumer trust that comes with respect for privacy. We strongly urge you to make a clear statement instituting policies that respect financial privacy and that the Treasury Department opposes the type of reporting requirements being advanced by the OECD and FATF.

Respectfully,

Paul M. Weyrich

J. Bradley Jansen

James J. Fotis

Jane Orient

John Berthoud

Andrew F. Quinlan

Frances B. Smith

Katherine Albrecht

Gordon S. Jones

Henry A. Whitmore

Kent Snyder

Cliff Kincaid

Lisa S. Dean

Jim Dempsey

George C. Landrith

Tom Shatz

Solveig Singleton

Edward A. Mallett

Steve Dasbach

Eric Sterling

Tom DeWeese

Dwight Patel

Amy Ridenour

Richard W. Rahn

Chuck Muth

Jon C. Pastore

Dr. Patricia McEwen

Miriam Archer

Aaron Starr, CPA

Eunie Smith

Joey Davis

Julaine K. Appling

Gene Linder

Bobby L. Hester

Cedric and Sandi Boehr

Mike Fellows

James A. Landrith Jr.

Jim Harper

Adrian Day

John Katon

Christopher Whalen

David A. Hodgkinson

Bert Ely

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Jansen is in Paris this week monitoring OECD efforts to undermine our privacy under the guise of investigations regarding financial crimes. We oppose the adoption of privacy-violating rules no matter how they are implemented or what they are called: FDIC's Know...
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2001-00-18
Friday, 18 May 2001 12:00 AM
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