February 25, 2021 | House Committee on Financial Services

Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection

Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy
February 25, 2021 | House Committee on Financial Services

Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection

Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy

Video

February 25, 2021

Opening statement

As prepared for delivery

Chairman Himes, Ranking Member Hill, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about how the U.S. government (USG), and in particular the U.S. Department of the Treasury, can employ similar tools and strategies against white nationalist and other domestic terrorist groups as it has employed against global jihadist groups over the past two decades. 

This is a personal issue for me. During my time at the Treasury Department, I fought to cut off funding to terrorist groups such as alQaeda, the Islamic State, and Hezbollah. As a deputy assistant secretary in the Bush administration and eventually as the assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the Obama administration, my primary responsibility was to lead the design and implementation of strategies to attack the financial networks of these groups and other threats to our country’s national security. And while we should never let down our guard with respect to those stillpotent terrorist organizations, it has become tragically clear that there are domestic extremist groups that in some ways present an even greater threat to our ideals and our democracy. 

The events of January 6 cast this threat into stark relief, but racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists (REMVEs) have been on the rise for many years. We have the responsibility to target those extremist groups with the same determination, creativity, and sense of purpose that we displayed in the years following 9/11. To be sure, counter-illicit finance strategies are not silver bullets. There are practical and constitutional limitations to domestic action that do not arise in the global context, and it is imperative that we adhere to constitutional requirements in applying these tools domestically. 

But if there is one thing that the Treasury Department has demonstrated since the establishment of its Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in 2004, it is that any comprehensive, all-of-government response to a national security threat must include a strategic financial component. It is my hope and expectation that the new leadership at the Treasury Department will turn its attention to precisely that challenge, and below I offer some thoughts on how Treasury could shape its approach. 

Read the full written testimony here. 

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Full written testimony

Issues:

Military and Political Power Sanctions and Illicit Finance U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy