Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bush's Political Pickle

Bush's Political Pickle
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted April 12, 2005.

The Bushies are now making an effort to track terrorist money, but not without ruffling the feathers of Republican donors. What's a poor party to do? Story Tools

....This all started with a report in The New York Times last week that the administration is finding heavy sledding in its efforts to go after terrorist financing. But who could oppose such a worthy endeavor? For starters, this administration. You may recall that Bill Clinton had commenced an international effort to track terrorist money, but the Bushies, upon arriving, denounced it as yet another soft-headed multilateralist initiative and promptly abandoned it. Then came 9/11, and suddenly it was in vogue again, though experts in the field, such as Sen. Paul Sarbanes, criticized the administration's initial efforts as lukewarm and half-hearted.
The Times reports a classic "little-noted provision" (oh, the trouble caused by "little-noted provisions") in the intelligence reform bill passed by Congress in December. It gives the government new tools to go after specific suspects and, "more broadly, to analyze patterns in terrorist financing and other financial crimes. They said they were mindful of privacy concerns that such a system is likely to provoke and wanted to include safeguards to prevent misuse of what would amount to an enormous cache of financial records ... tactics ... (that) have already caused something of a backlash among banking compliance officers -- and even some federal officials, who say the effort has gone too far in penalizing the financial sector for lapses and has effectively criminalized what were once seen as technical violations."
Like what "technical violations"? Perhaps we find a hint in a recent report by the Tax Justice Network, an international group of tax experts and economists....