Letter to Secretary of the Treasury re: Financial Privacy

May 15, 2001
Coalition for Constitutional Liberties
Letter to Secretary of the Treasury
Regarding Financial Privacy

Coalition for Constitutional Liberties
A project of the Free Congress Foundation’s Center for Technology Policy

717 Second Street NE * Washington, DC 20002 * (202) 546-3000 * Fax (202) 543-5605


May 15, 2001

The Honorable Paul H. O’Neill
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20220

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

National Chairman

Coalitions for America

 

J. Bradley Jansen

Director

Coalition for Constitutional Liberties

 

James J. Fotis

Executive Director

Law Enforcement Alliance of America

 

Jane Orient

Executive Director

American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

 

John Berthoud

President

National Taxpayers Union

 

Andrew F. Quinlan

President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

 

Frances B. Smith

Executive Director

Consumer Alert

 

Katherine Albrecht

Founder and Editor

CASPIAN – Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering

 

Gordon S. Jones

President

Association of Concerned Taxpayers

 

Henry A. Whitmore

Committee Chairman

People Against Church Taxation

 

Kent Snyder

Executive Director

The Liberty Committee

 

Cliff Kincaid

President

America’s Survival, Inc.

 

Richard W. Rahn

Senior Fellow

Discovery Institute

 

Chuck Muth

Chairman

Republican Liberty Caucus

 

Jon C. Pastore

Executive Director

Young Americans for Freedom

 

 

Dr. Patricia McEwen

Ministry Coordinator

Life Coalition International

 

Miriam Archer

Director of Operations

Christian Coalition of California

 

Aaron Starr, CPA

Chairman

Libertarian Party of California

 

Eunie Smith

President

Eagle Forum of Alabama

 

Joey Davis

State Director

Concerned Women for America of Missouri

 

Julaine K. Appling

Executive Director

Family Research Institute of WI

 

Gene Linder

Chairman

Libertarian Party of Utah

 

 

Lisa S. Dean

Vice President

Free Congress Foundation

 

Jim Dempsey

Deputy Director

Center for Democracy and Technology

 

George C. Landrith

Executive Director

Frontiers of Freedom

 

Tom Shatz

President

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

 

Solveig Singleton

Senior Analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute

 

Edward A. Mallett

President

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

 

Steve Dasbach

National Director

Libertarian Party

 

Eric Sterling

President

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

 

 

Tom DeWeese

President

American Policy Center

 

Dwight Patel

Director

Coalition for a Tax-Free Internet

 

Amy Ridenour

President

The National Center for Public Policy Research

 

Bobby L. Hester

President

American Family Association of Arkansas

 

Cedric and Sandi Boehr

Co-Chairmen

Kansas Constitution Party

 

Mike Fellows

Chair

Montana Libertarian Party

 

James A. Landrith, Jr.

Editor & Publisher

The Multiracial Activist

and The Abolitionist Examiner

 

Jim Harper

Editor

Privacilla.org

 

Adrian Day

President

Global Strategic Management

 

John Katon

President

AWS Construction Services, Inc.

 

Christopher Whalen

The Whalen Consulting Group

New York

 

David A. Hodgkinson

Proprietor

D.A. Hodgkinson, CPA.

 

Bert Ely

Banking Consultant

Ely & Company, Inc.

 

Leslee J Unruh

President and Founder

Abstinence Clearinghouse

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.