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Statement on the latest release of Panama Paper documents

By Michelle Surka
Tax and Budget Advocate

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which in April released the “Panama Papers”, today shared a new set of data which again highlights the web of anonymous shell companies that enables everything from white collar tax evasion, secret campaign spending, and consumer scams to money laundering by drug dealers and corrupt foreign leaders.

U.S. PIRG’s Tax and Budget Advocate Michelle Surka, made a statement about the latest leaks:

“This latest slate of leaked financial documents, the “Bahamas Leaks”, are one more beam of light cutting through the darkness of international financial dealings. But the “Panama Papers” and the “Bahamas Leaks” belie the reality that you don’t need to establish your business in some far off nation to keep it anonymous and use it to hide the money trail. The U.S. itself remains one of the easiest places in the world to establish an anonymous company. If you’re a big campaign donor wishing to conceal your identity or a criminal looking to scam consumers, you can set up an anonymous company in most states by providing less information than it takes to get a library card.

This latest collection of leaks should show how damaging anonymous shell companies are, and encourage Congress to pass the bipartisan legislation—The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act-- that would allow us to stop shining flashlights into dark corners and instead just turn on the lights here at home once and for all.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

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