Tom Waring, the Wire
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew expressing concern with the administration’s policies on combating trade-based money laundering and the threat this illicit practice has on the United States and its economic partners.
Fitzpatrick authored the letter with Reps. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Robert Pittenger, a North Carolina Republican.
“On February 2, 2016, the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing held a hearing which focused on trade based money laundering and the threat it holds toward our national security, financial system and the international trade system,” wrote Fitzpatrick, Lynch and Pittenger. “This hearing revealed that, although the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are doing tremendous work, there is significant room for more accurate data collection, improved data consolidation and increased cooperation with the private sector and our regional partners.”
The Task Force has requested the Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis examine the data at its disposal and generate an official estimate of the impact trade-based money laundering has on the United States.
Trade-based money laundering has been widely recognized as the most common form of money laundering and value transfer method utilized by criminal and terrorist organizations, allowing these groups the ability to move billions of dollars annually virtually undetected. Given the considerable volume of international trade and the value of the transactions, the effects of trade-based money laundering can result in extensive repercussions for global commerce and government revenues.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to address the number of deaths caused by the medical device Essure.
More than 300 fetal deaths have been reported to the FDA due to Essure, a permanent sterilization device.
In a letter to the FDA, Fitzpatrick wrote, “The FDA’s public materials related to Essure have cited five reports of fetal deaths. However, my office is in receipt of a review of adverse event reports related to Essure, conducted by women harmed by this device and an adverse event data expert. This independent report counts 303 fetal deaths. I request that the FDA conduct a thorough review of this document and all of the adverse event reports received by those harmed by Essure as part of FDA’s ongoing review of this medical device.”
Also, a complaint alleges that the manufacturer of Essure gave substantial and illegal financial inducements to providers to encourage them to use Essure, a procedure that costs the government almost $3,500 per patient. According to the complaint, the manufacturer of Essure provided illegal kickbacks in the form of free medical equipment valued at $20,000.
More than 25,000 women reported symptoms that included extreme pelvic and abdominal pain, migraines, loss of teeth and hair, and the coil cutting into the uterus and other organs in the abdominal cavity. Ten-thousand women have filed formal complaints with the FDA.