House overturns Trump’s veto on anonymous US firms bill

Bipartisan anti-corruption legislation included in a bill vetoed by President Trump could be resurrected after the House of Representatives voted to overturn the block.

Reps voted 322 to eight to resurrect the $740bn annual defense spending bill, ahead of a Senate vote on overriding the veto scheduled to take place today. The Senate previously backed the legislation by a vote of 84 to 13, and could enact this measure into law if it secures a two-thirds majority vote.

The sweeping legislation funds national security in the US, and typically passes with little opposition, but was vetoed by Trump this year.

Among several objections, the soon-to-depart president argued that its failure to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – which protects social media platforms from the actions of its users – was behind his decision. Trump repeatedly accused media companies of being biased against him during his re-election bid.

Amid the wide-ranging legislation however was a key clause – the Corporate Transparency Act – that is seen as being a major step forward in the fight against illicit trade and corporate crime.

Companies with opaque ownership are making enforcement actions against the illicit trade in fake goods challenging, according to the  Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, which welcomed the House decision.

It maintains that enacting legislation to end the incorporation of anonymous shell companies will make it harder for criminals to launder their profits and escape detection.

“After more than a decade-long campaign to end the formation of anonymous shell companies that are abused by the criminal and the corrupt, the US is on the verge of enacting historic reforms to protect Americans and our financial system from abuse,” said FACT Coalition executive director Ian Gary.

“We applaud House lawmakers for twice advancing this critical, bipartisan anti-corruption reform by veto-proof margins. We ask senators to similarly support these critical transparency reforms when they come up for a final vote this week.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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