This bill ― the Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch Act ― would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions that maintain a customer account at the request of a federal or state law enforcement agency. Currently, under the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations, banks face strict rules for managing accounts so that they cannot facilitate money laundering, terrorism financing, drug running, and other illegal activities.
What is House Bill H.R. 758?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 758
In-Depth: Rep. French Hill (R-AR) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to strengthen protections for financial institutions that are called upon by law enforcement for help during criminal investigations:
"More than ever, financial institutions have the potential to play a pivotal role in helping law enforcement bring criminals to justice. However, due to outdated regulations, banks that cooperate with law enforcement agencies risk being penalized by regulators while assisting with an ongoing criminal investigation. As a former community banker, I have dealt with this conflict of wanting to help law enforcement agencies when receiving a ‘Keep Open Letter,’ while not being able to because of the need to comply with the requirements set forth by a regulator. [This bill] is a commonsense solution that allows financial institutions and law enforcement to better cooperate in order to prosecute bad actors wanting to use the American financial system for their criminal acts."
This bill has one cosponsor, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, it passed the House by a 379-4 vote with the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican.
- Sponsoring Rep. French Hill (R-AR) Press Release
- Sponsoring Rep. French Hill (R-AR) Press Release (115th Congress)
- CBO Cost Estimate (115th Congress)
- Washington Examiner
Summary by Lucas McConnell(Photo Credit: Chalabala/iStock)
Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch Act of 2019
To provide a safe harbor for financial institutions that maintain a customer account or customer transaction at the request of a Federal or State law enforcement agency.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- senate Committees
- The house Passed March 11th, 2019Roll Call Vote 404 Yea / 7 Nay
Committee on Financial ServicesIntroducedJanuary 24th, 2019
- house Committees