Today Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), and Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Chairman, Ranking Minority Member, and Member of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act to help law enforcement stop the misuse of U.S. corporations.
Currently, nearly two million corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) are formed within the United States each year. The States generally form these corporations without asking for the identity of the corporation's beneficial owners, and numerous law enforcement problems have resulted when some of these corporations have become involved with money laundering, tax evasion, or other misconduct. The bill being introduced would require the States to obtain beneficial ownership information for the corporations formed under their laws and to provide access to this information to law enforcement upon receipt of a subpoena or summons.
As the press release notes:
Criminals are hiding behind U.S. corporations while committing all sorts of crimes - from terrorism to money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion.
As Carl Levin said:
The bill we are introducing today will strike a blow against corporate secrecy, strengthen law enforcement, and curb the misuse of U.S. corporations
But there's still a problem. Why is a subpoena needed? Society grants limited liability. Shouldn't society be protected from its abuse by requiring those to whom the benefit has been granted to acknowledge the fact on public record? After all, I know of no human right that says you can abuse your creditors, but that's exactly what limited liability lets people do. That's why we say this is essential.
So, full marks for trying. But only 7/10 overall for failing to finish the task.