How To End The Practice of Anonymously Held Corporations, One Year Post-Panama Papers. Brookings Institution. Aaron Klein. March 27, 2017
One of the core tenets of America’s terrorism finance and anti-money laundering (AML) strategies is that financial institutions are under an affirmative requirement to ‘know your customers’—or KYC. The centrality can be seen in the ubiquity of the KYC acronym, often appearing alongside AML as a merged six-letter short hand.
Despite the importance of the tenet, however, corporations are still legally able to set-up anonymous shell entities that are entitled to open bank accounts and not required to provide information regarding the company’s beneficial owners—a shady practice that received international attention almost one year ago with the publication of the now-infamous Panama Papers. How can banks be expected to know your customer, when the customer is entitled to anonymity? What are the implications of anonymous ownership and of revising this practice? [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Future-Proofing Justice: Building a Research Agenda to Address the Effects of Technological Change on the Protection of Constitutional Rights. RAND Corporation. Brian A. Jackson et al. January 10, 2017.
New technologies have changed the types of data that are routinely collected about citizens on a daily basis. For example, smart devices collect location and communication data, and fitness trackers and medical devices capture physiological and other data. As technology changes, new portable and connected devices have the potential to gather even more information. Such data have great potential utility in criminal justice proceedings, and they are already being used in case preparations, plea negotiations, and trials. But the broad expansion of technological capability also has the potential to stress approaches for ensuring that individuals’ constitutional rights are protected through legal processes. In an effort to consider those implications, we convened a panel of criminal justice practitioners, legal scholars, and individuals from the civil liberties community to identify research and other needs to prepare the U.S. legal system both for technologies we are seeing today and for technologies we are likely to see in the future. Through structured brainstorming, the panel explored a wide range of potential issues regarding these technologies, from evidentiary and procedural concerns to questions about the technologies’ accuracy and efficient use. Via a Delphi-based prioritization of the results, the panel crafted a research agenda — including best practice and training development, evaluation, and fundamental research efforts — to provide the criminal justice community with the knowledge and capabilities needed to address these important and complex technological questions going forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Restrictions on Lobbying the Government: Current Policy and Proposed Changes. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. CRS Insight. Jacob R. Straus. December 15, 2016
During the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump proposed a series of ethics measures, including several lobbying-related provisions. They are:
• extending “cooling off” periods on lobbying the government for five years after government service;
• “instituting a five-year ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress and their staffs”;
• expanding the definition of a lobbyist to cover former government officials who engage in strategic consulting;
• issuing a “lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.”
President-elect Trump’s ethics plan shares some features with past efforts to restrict Administration officials’ future lobbying activities (the “revolving door”) by adjusting “cooling off” periods—a period of time a former government official is restricted from contacting their former employer on particular matters they might have worked on in government. These previous efforts include a 1993 executive order issued by President Bill Clinton (E.O. 12834) and a 2009 executive order issued by President Barack Obama (E.O. 13490), and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007. The executive orders supplemented existing statutory revolving door and “cooling off” period requirements.
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U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Mark P. Keightley. December 21, 2016
Recent deficit reduction and tax reform plans have included broad proposals to reform the U.S. international corporate tax system. These proposals have raised concerns over how changing the way American multi-national corporations are taxed could impact the deficit and debt, domestic job markets, competitiveness, and the use of corporate tax havens, among other things. An informed debate about how to reform the system governing the taxation of U.S. multi-national corporations requires careful consideration of these issues, as well as a basic understanding of several features of the current system.
This report provides a general introduction to the basic concepts and issues relevant to the U.S. international corporate tax system. The explanations provided in this report emphasize the underlying concepts of the international tax system and are intended to be as simplified as possible. There are of course important and complex technical details that would need to be considered carefully if reform of the current system were to be implemented effectively and efficiently. These important technical details, however, are beyond the scope of this report. Where appropriate, references to other CRS products are provided within the report. A list of related CRS products and other suggested readings on international corporate taxation may also be found at the end of the report.
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Human Smuggling: Ruthless Crime or Invaluable Service? YaleGlobal . Joseph Chamie. 22 December 2016
Human smuggling is not new or easy to stop. Governments consider the activity a crime, yet migrants fleeing war, poverty, persecution or disasters seek out the services of experienced smugglers. The most desperate stories draw global sympathy. “For many unauthorized migrants, smugglers are freedom facilitators,” concedes Joseph Chamie, demography expert and former director of the United Nations Population Division. Analysts do not agree on the best approach for slowing human smuggling: Some urge tight border security, but others point out that walls and other barriers force migrants to rely on smugglers. Open borders would end smuggling but would disrupt communities and countries. Chamie describes the many challenges confronting governments including varying perceptions among their own citizens and even border guards or police who look the other way. He concludes, “Many consider human smuggling as permissible or even justified when helping those escaping persecution or desperate conditions.” Good governance emphasizes compassion and security.[ Note: contains copyrighted material].
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The Federal Anti-Nepotism Statute: Limits on Appointing, Hiring, and Promoting Relatives. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress & Analysis, Legal Sidebar. December 01,2016.
The process of presidential transition has raised questions about who may be appointed to certain executive posts in the White House, an issue addressed under a federal law commonly known as the anti-nepotism statute. Nepotism is defined generally as the exercise of favoritism by a person in a position of authority towards that person’s relatives, particularly giving them jobs. The federal anti-nepotism statute applies to all public officials (including the President and Members of Congress) in all three branches of the federal government. Such officials are barred from appointing, hiring, or promoting – or advocating for the appointment, hiring, or promotion of – a specific class of relatives to a civilian position in the agency in which that official serves or over which the official exercises authority.
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“Regulatory Relief” for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sean M. Hoskins et al. November 10, 2016.
The 114th Congress is considering legislation to provide “regulatory relief” for banks. The need for this relief, some argue, results from new regulations introduced in response to vulnerabilities
that were identified during the financial crisis that began in 2007. Some have contended that the increased regulatory burden—the cost associated with government regulation and its implementation—is resulting in significant costs that restrain economic growth and consumers’ access to credit. Others, however, believe the current regulatory structure strengthens financial stability and increases protections for consumers, and they are concerned that regulatory relief for banks could negatively affect consumers and market stability. Regulatory relief proposals, therefore, may involve a trade-off between reducing costs associated with regulatory burden and reducing benefits of regulation.
This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that, at the time this report was published, has seen legislative action. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), wide-ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
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