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.



Paul M. Weyrich

National Chairman

Coalitions for America


J. Bradley Jansen


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


National Taxpayers Union


Andrew F. Quinlan


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


Association of Concerned Taxpayers


Henry A. Whitmore

Committee Chairman

People Against Church Taxation


Kent Snyder

Executive Director

The Liberty Committee


Cliff Kincaid


America’s Survival, Inc.


Richard W. Rahn

Senior Fellow

Discovery Institute


Chuck Muth


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


Libertarian Party of California


Eunie Smith


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


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


Council for Citizens Against Government Waste


Solveig Singleton

Senior Analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Edward A. Mallett


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


Steve Dasbach

National Director

Libertarian Party


Eric Sterling


Criminal Justice Policy Foundation



Tom DeWeese


American Policy Center


Dwight Patel


Coalition for a Tax-Free Internet


Amy Ridenour


The National Center for Public Policy Research


Bobby L. Hester


American Family Association of Arkansas


Cedric and Sandi Boehr


Kansas Constitution Party


Mike Fellows


Montana Libertarian Party


James A. Landrith, Jr.

Editor & Publisher

The Multiracial Activist

and The Abolitionist Examiner


Jim Harper




Adrian Day


Global Strategic Management


John Katon


AWS Construction Services, Inc.


Christopher Whalen

The Whalen Consulting Group

New York


David A. Hodgkinson


D.A. Hodgkinson, CPA.


Bert Ely

Banking Consultant

Ely & Company, Inc.


Leslee J Unruh

President and Founder

Abstinence Clearinghouse


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