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Virginia Lawmakers find Common Ground Fighting Financial Crime

Benjamin Chan / Creative Commons

Washington gets a lot of bad publicity for partisan gridlock, and there’s certainly a lot of that.

But two freshman Virginia lawmakers from different parties are working together to crack down on financial crimes.

Meet Washington’s new odd couple: Congressman Denver Riggleman and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. He’s in the Freedom Caucus. She’s in the New Democrat Coalition.

They’re both freshman members of the Financial Services Committee, where they’re working together on a bill to modernize the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Riggleman says part of that is making sure the federal government is working with tribal law enforcement agencies. “If you talk about native tribes, they are a completely different federal entity. We don’t have effective information sharing for tracking those people who would be using illicit finance for things like drug trafficking, human trafficking, sex trafficking.”

Wexton says the bill also gives the federal government authority to look at domestically funded terror groups, like white supremacists. “And there are other domestic terror groups, things like the Animal Liberation Front is one that used to be engaging terrorism activities.”

The bill would also create new authority for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is part of the Treasury Department, to follow the virtual money — bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.