Skip to comments.O'Reilly Factor - Left-wing "reporters" met with John Kerry in Al Franken's apartment
Posted on 03/22/2004 7:13:09 PM PST by kcvl
In an effort to galvanize the message Kerry wants to deliver in the time remaining, he convened a powerful roster of journalists and columnists in the New York City apartment of Al Franken last Thursday. The gathering could not properly be called a meeting or a luncheon. It was a trial. The journalists served as prosecuting attorneys, jury and judge. The crowd I joined in Frankens living room was comprised of:
Al Franken and his wife Franni;
Rick Hertzberg, senior editor for the New Yorker;
David Remnick, editor for the New Yorker;
Jim Kelly, managing editor for Time Magazine;
Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek;
Jeff Greenfield, senior correspondent and analyst for CNN;
Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times;
Eric Alterman, author and columnist for MSNBC and the Nation;
Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist/author of Maus;
Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post;
Fred Kaplan, columnist for Slate;
Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate and author;
Jonathan Alter, senior editor and columnist for Newsweek;
Philip Gourevitch, columnist for the New Yorker;
Calvin Trillin, freelance writer and author;
Edward Jay Epstein, investigative reporter and author;
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who needs no introduction.
We sat in a circle around Kerry and grilled him for two long hours. In an age of retail politicians who avoid substance the way vampires avoid sunlight, in an age when the sitting President flounders like a gaffed fish whenever he must speak to reporters without a script, Kerrys decision to open himself to the slings and arrows of this group was bold and impressive. He was fresh from two remarkable speeches one lambasting the PATRIOT Act, another outlining his foreign policy ideals while eviscerating the Bush record and had his game face on. He needed it, because Eric Alterman lit into him immediately on the all-important issue of his vote for the Iraq War Resolution. The prosecution had begun.
As O'Reilly said, I wonder what others would say if George Bush met with Roger Ailes and the reporters for The Wall Street Journal in someone's apartment? Would that be acceptable to the other "news" organizations?
Franni Frankin???? Seriously?
We need to keep a list of ALL of the clymers.
Time remaining? HS, it's eight full months until the election? Or doesn't Mr Kerry think that he will win the nomination at the convention??????
That group? ROFLMAO........I bet he got some REALLY hard questions from them.
This is REPREHENSIBLE!
BTW, who wrote this crap?
A little clarification should be in order here. "Last Thursday" refers to Thursday December 4th, 2003 and the "I" refers to William Rivers Pitt? Who is... ?
OCTOBER 25, 2001 Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I support the conference report before the Senate today. It reflects an enormous amount of hard work by the members of the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. I congratulate them and thank them for that work.
I particularly thank Senator Daschle, Senator Leahy, Senator Sarbanes, Senator Hatch, and Senator Levin for their work in developing this legislation. I am pleased the Conference Report includes what I consider to be a very important provision regarding money laundering that has been hard fought over and, frankly, long awaited for. We have been working on this for quite a few years, almost 10 years or more when I was a member of the Banking Committee and within the Foreign Relations Committee where I was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations. This really is the culmination of much of that work.
[Page: S11027] GPO's PDF I am pleased at the compromise we have reached on the antiterrorism legislation, as a whole, which includes the sunset provision on the wiretapping and electronic surveillance component. It has been a source of considerable concern for people, and I think the sunset provision provides Congress a chance to come back and measure the record appropriately, and that is appropriate.
The reason I think the money-laundering provision is so important is it permits the United States--it really authorizes and gives to the Secretary of the Treasury the power to be able to enforce the interests of the United States. It allows the Secretary to deny banks and jurisdictions access to our economy if in the last measure they are not cooperative in other ways to prevent money laundering from being a tool available to terrorists.
This is a bill I introduced several years ago that assists our ability to be able to crack down on the capacity for criminal elements, not just terrorists, who are criminals themselves. But also narcotics traffickers, arms proliferators, people who traffic in people themselves. There are all kinds of criminal enterprises which benefit from access to the American financial system. All of these will now be on notice that our law enforcement community has additional tools to use to be able to close the incredible benefits of access to the American financial marketplace.
The global volume of laundered money staggers the imagination. It is estimated to be 2 to 5 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States. That is $600 billion to $1.5 trillion that is laundered, that comes into the country or passes through banks without accountability. Those funds escape the tax system, for one thing. So for legitimate governments struggling to fairly distribute the tax base while the average citizen who gets their paycheck deducted or those good corporate citizens and others who live by the rules, they are literally being required to assume a greater burden because other people using the laundering and lack of accountability escape that responsibility.
The effects of money laundering go far beyond the parameters of law enforcement, creating international political issues and generating very genuine domestic political crises. International criminals have taken advantage of the technology and the weak financial supervision in many jurisdictions to simply smuggle their funds into our system. Globalization and advances in communications and technologies have allowed them to move their illicit gains with much more secrecy, much faster, commingled, and in other ways that avoid or complicate significantly the ability of prosecutors to be able to do their job.
Many nations, some of them remote, small islands that have no real assets of their own, have passed laws solely for the purpose of attracting capital illicitly, as well as legally. By having the legal capital that is attracted by virtue of the haven that is created, they provide the cover for all of the illicit money. There are places not so far away from us, islands in the Caribbean and elsewhere, which at last count I remember $400 billion of assets that supposedly belong to this island in about 1 square mile of the downtown area, most of which was the property of entities that had a brass plate on a door and a fax machine inside, perhaps a telephone number, and that was sort of the full extent of the corporate entity.
So there is $400 billion on an island that everybody knows is not on the island. Where does it go? It goes back into the financial marketplace where it earns interest, is invested, goes into legitimate efforts, much of it legitimate money to begin with but a whole portion of it not. I might add, with the knowledge of people involved in those businesses and many of the banks that receive it.
So if one is going to cope with an al-Qaida, with a terrorist entity such as Osama bin Laden, who moves his money into this legitimate marketplace, law enforcement has to have the ability to be able to hold people accountable where it is legitimate to do so.
Now obviously we do not want to do that where there is a legitimate enterprise, and we do not want to create a crossing of the line of the corporate veil that has been protected for a long period of time, and I am not urging that we do that. But we do have to have a system in place, where probable cause exists, for law enforcement entities.
I spent a number of years as a prosecutor. We make pretty good judgments in the law enforcement community about probable cause. They are not always without question, and they are not, obviously, without error at times. We understand that. We have a pretty good system in the United States to protect against that. What we are trying to do with this legislation is to put those protections in place,
but even as we put in a series of steps that allow the Secretary of the Treasury to be able to target a particular area as a known money-laundering problem, and then be able to require of the government of that entity, a cooperative effort. It is only if the entity or government's cooperative effort at several different stages is not forthcoming that the Secretary would ultimately consider exercising the power to denying that entity as a whole, or individual banks or other financial institutions, access to our financial marketplace and to its benefits.
I believe this leverage will be critical in our ability to wage a war on terrorism, as well as to be able to wage a sufficient law enforcement effort against the criminal enterprises that exist on a global basis.
I think the Secretary will have a number of different options and it will provide a transparency and an accountability that is absent today.
Let me comment on one criticism that is often raised by some opponents of this legislation who do not like the idea that the United States should somehow put in place sanctions against an entity that has a lower tax rate than we happen to have. I emphasize there is nothing in this legislation that empowers us to take action because another government has a lower tax rate. That is their privilege. It is healthy, as all Members know, to have competition in the marketplace of taxes, too. The Chair is a former Governor and he knows well the competition between States. States will say: We will not have a sales tax; we will not have an excise tax; we will try to make ourselves more business friendly. We want to be as competitive and as low tax as we conceivably can be.
We are not seeking to try to address those jurisdictions that simply make themselves more competitive on a tax basis. What we are trying to address are those jurisdictions that not only have lower taxes but use the lower taxes, coupled with a complete absence of accountability, a complete absence of transparency, a complete absence of living by the law enforcement standards of other parts of the world, to knowingly attract the illicit gains that come from criminal activity or that attract and move terrorist money through the world.
We are simply putting into place the standards by which most of the developed world is living. Ultimately we hope all countries will adopt appropriate money laundering standards so we can all live in a safer world.
Passage of this legislation is going to make it a lot more difficult for new terrorist organizations to develop. I can remember a number of years ago when I was chairing the subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations, I conducted an investigation into a bank called BCCI, the Bank of Credit Commerce International. We uncovered a complex money-laundering scheme involving billions of dollars. Fortunately, BCCI was forced to close. We were able to bring many of those involved in it to justice. But we have learned since the closing that BCCI was a bank that had a number of Osama bin Laden's accounts. We learned when BCCI closed, we dealt Osama bin Laden a very serious blow.
So as the Congress gives final approval to this legislation in response to these attacks, we need to keep in our focus the benefits that will come to us by pressing these money laundering standards on banks. With the passage of this legislation, terrorist organizations will not be able to move funds as easily and they will not be able to have their people move within our country with bank accounts that we cannot [Page: S11028] GPO's PDF penetrate, with major sources of funding transferred to them from the Middle East or elsewhere to empower them to be able to do the kind of things they did on September 11.
I also point out this bill will require the U.S. financial institutions to use appropriate caution and diligence when opening and managing accounts for foreign financial institutions. It will actually prohibit foreign shell banks, those who have no physical location in any country, from opening an account in the United States. Think about that. We currently allow a bank that has no physical presence anywhere--a bank--to open an account in the United States. That is today. With this legislation, that will change. It is high time.
The conference report expands the list of money-laundering crimes and will assist our law enforcement efforts in making it easier to prosecute those crimes. It requires the Federal Reserve to take into consideration the effectiveness financial institutions in combating money-laundering activities before any merger is approved. We will have an ability to judge the road traveled before we open up new opportunities for financial institutions
The following is a description of the legislative intent of the Counter Money Laundering and Foreign Anti-Corruption Act of 2001 which was included in section 311 of subtitle A--International Counter Money Laundering and Related Measures of the conference report. First, the Secretary of the Treasury determines whether ``reasonable grounds exist for concluding'' that a foreign jurisdiction, a financial institution operating in a foreign jurisdiction, or a type of international transaction, is of ``primary money laundering concern.'' In making this determination, the Secretary must consult with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative. The Secretary is also directed to consider any relevant factor, including the quality of a jurisdiction's bank secrecy, bank supervision, and anti-money laundering laws and administration, the extent to which a particular institution or type of transaction is involved in money laundering as compared to legitimate banking operations, whether the U.S. has a mutual legal assistance treaty with the jurisdiction and whether the jurisdiction has high levels of official or internal corruption.
Second, if a jurisdiction, institution, or transaction is found to be a ``primary money laundering concern,'' the Secretary then selects from a menu of five ``special measures'' to address the identified issue. these five special measures are: requiring additional record keeping and/or reporting on particular transactions; requiring reasonable and practicable steps to identify the beneficial foreign owner of an account opened or maintained in a domestic financial institution; requiring the identification of those using a foreign bank's payable-through account with a domestic financial institution; requiring the identification of those using a foreign bank's correspondent account with a domestic financial institution; and restricting or prohibiting the opening or maintaining of certain corresponding accounts for foreign financial institutions. The special measure relating to the restriction or prohibition of accounts can only be imposed by regulation. However, nothing in this legislation will in any way restrict the right of the Secretary of the Treasury to impose a rule immediately and to ask for comment at the same time. The other four special measures may not remain in effect for more than 120 days, except pursuant to a rule promulgated on or before the end of the 120-day period beginning on the date of the issuance of such order.
In choosing which ``special measure'' to impose and how to tailor it, the Secretary shall consider the extent to which they are used to facilitate or promote money laundering, the extent to which they are used for legitimate business purposes and the extent to which such action will sufficiently guard against money laundering. The Secretary is also to consult with the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. If the Secretary is considering prohibiting or restricting correspondent accounts, he is also to consult with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. The Secretary is also obligated to consider three factors: whether other countries or multilateral groups are taking similar actions; whether the imposition of the measure would create a significant competitive disadvantage for U.S. firms, including any significant cost or compliance; the extent to which the action would have an adverse systemic impact on the payment system and legitimate business; and the effect of such action on United States national security and foreign policy.
Within 10 days of invoking any of the special measures against a primary money laundering concern, the Secretary must notify the House and Senate Banking Committees of any such action taken.
The conference report includes a provision within section 351 relating to reporting of suspicious transactions which clarifies that the ``safe harbor'' from civil liability for filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) applies in any litigation, including suit for breach of contract or in an arbitration proceeding and clarifies the prohibition on disclosing that a SAR has been filed.
Section 353 of the conference report also includes a provision that increases penalties for violation of Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) by making it a civil and criminal offense on par with existing law to file reports required by a Geographic Targeting Order; requiring structuring transactions to fall below a GTO-lowered threshold a civil and criminal offense on par with structuring generally; and extends the presumptive GTO period from 60 to 180 days.
Finally, section 355 of the conference report includes a provision that grants financial institutions civil immunity for including suspicions of criminal wrongdoing in a written reference on a current or former employer.
It has been brought to my attention that this bill, as originally passed by the House, contained a rule of construction which could have limited our ability to provide assistance and cooperation to our foreign allies in their battle against money laundering. The House-passed rule of construction could have potentially limited the access of foreign jurisdictions to our courts and could have required them to negotiate a treaty in order to be able to take advantage of our money-laundering laws in their fight against crime and terrorism. The conference report did not include a rule of construction because the Congress has always recognized the fundamental right of friendly nations to have access to our courts to enforce their rights. Foreign jurisdictions have never needed a treaty to have access to our courts. Since some of the money-laundering conducted in the world today also defrauds foreign governments, it would be hostile to the intent of this bill for us to interject into the statute any rule of construction of legislative language which would in any way limit our foreign allies access to our courts to battle against money laundering. That is why we did not include a rule of construction in the conference report. That is why we today clarify that it is the intent of the legislature that our allies will have access to our courts and the use of our laws if they are the victims of smuggling, fraud, money laundering, or terrorism. I make these remarks today because there should be no confusion on this issue and comments made by others should not be construed as a reassertion of this rule of construction which we have soundly rejected. Our allies have had and must continue to have the benefit of U.S. laws in this fight against money laundering and terrorism.
Smuggling, money laundering, and fraud against our allies are an important part of the schemes by which terrorism is financed. It is essential that our money laundering statutes have appropriate scope so our law enforcement can fight money laundering wherever it is found and in any form it is found. By expanding the definition of ``Specified Unlawful Activity'' to include a wide range of offenses against friendly nations who are our allies in the war against terrorism, we are confirming that our money laundering statutes prohibit anyone from using the United States as a platform to commit money laundering offenses against foreign jurisdictions in whatever form that they occur. it should be clear that our intention that the [Page: S11029] GPO's PDF money laundering statues of the United States are intended to insure that all criminals and terrorists cannot circumvent our laws. We shall continue to give our full cooperation to our allies in their efforts to combat smuggling and money laundering, including access to our courts and the unimpeded use of our criminal and civil laws.
Eric Alterman lit into him? That is too funny!
They should be compelled to release the transcript of the meeting.
Yup! thats the long and short of it! Kerry surrounds himself and subjugates himself to the "best and the brightest"! LOL Wh00P!!
Sounds like a "Laugh In" skit, doesn't it?