Religious Institutions Urge Senate to Pass Financial Transparency Legislation

Washington DC - More than 80 national religious bodies and local churches, synagogues and Muslim groups sent a letter to the Senate urging passage of the ILLICIT CASH Act (S.2563) and the Corporate Transparency Act (S.1978). "We write to urge you to support legislative actions in line with our faith...legislation that promotes transparency, fights corruption and protects the vulnerable," stated the religious groups which included the Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and United Church of Christ Churches.

"It will be more difficult for dictators to use shell companies to secretly steal development aid and for human traffickers to hide their profits once this legislation passes the Senate. The legislation reveals the true owners of shell companies to law enforcement," noted Eric LeCompte who heads Jubilee USA, the organization that coordinated the Senate letter.

The legislation is supported by the White House and passed the House of Representatives in October. 

Read the Religious Organization Senate Transparency Letter here

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Eric LeCompte Quoted by National Catholic Reporter on Bretton Woods Legacy

The National Catholic Reporter quoted Eric LeCompte on the legacy of the Bretton Woods agreement. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

In New Hampshire, engaged voters revisit the Bretton Woods legacy

"In part what resonates with many workers around Trump's America first policies is that we've seen the 'multilateralism' of the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization or the 'Bretton Woods' institutions, promote a financial system that enriches a few and forsakes most of us," Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, told me in an interview. 

Read more here

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Gifts Doubled Now, Congress Jubilee Votes


Over the next few weeks and months we face at least four votes in Congress.

Your gift for Jubilee USA really matters now.

Today you can make a tax-deductible gift to support Jubilee USA's mission and that donation will be matched - we can double our impact.

Your gift today means we can be ready to win votes that:

  • win debt relief for Somalia,

  • secure disaster aid for Puerto Rico,

  • move forward a new NAFTA trade agreement that ensures everyone can access medicine

  • and prevent the use of shell companies by tax evaders, human traffickers to hide profits and dictators to steal debt relief.

Already for many of our campaigns, we won the support of the White House, Treasury and Congressional leadership. Our strategic, bipartisan, interfaith campaigns continue to move forward Jubilee laws in Congress, at the G20 and with the United Nations and International Monetary Fund.

Please make a gift to support our effective efforts that tackle the root causes of extreme poverty and inequality. Your gift will be doubled now.



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For the record books...


Today we are releasing our 2019 year-end report.

It's a year for the record books:

  • We passed our bipartisan Jubilee Corporate Transparency Act in the House of Representatives and won White House and Treasury support. After a decade of work, our legislation reveals the true owners of “anonymous” shell companies, stops human traffickers, defends vulnerable communities and protects development aid and debt relief.

  • We won more than $69 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico, Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Florida and other US States recovering from natural disasters. We expedited aid for Puerto Rico.

  • Our messages to Congress successfully pushed the advisers of Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring to disclose conflicts of interest and stopped $8 billion dollars of bad debt being paid.

  • We won support for Somalia debt relief from the White House, State Department, Treasury, IMF and World Bank.

  • We moved the White House to support a new NAFTA agreement to stop “vulture funds” and protect vulnerable people.

  • Pope Francis and the Vatican highlighted our analysis on debt, tax, climate, trade
    and corruption.

  • During the Spring IMF and World Bank meetings, Jubilee USA organized the main
    event for world leaders on stopping financial and debt crises.

  • Our Jubilee USA efforts to end poverty were covered in tens of thousands of newspapers, magazines and television programs around the world.

Please read our full 2019 year-end report.

We appreciate your partnership and I invite you, to join me and make a contribution to support Jubilee USA's interfaith, bipartisan campaigns today.

Ahead of #GivingTuesday, all gifts made now to support Jubilee USA are doubled.

Because of the tax reform and many people prioritizing gifts to political campaigns and partisan messages, our donations are lower this year. Please make a tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA today and that gift will be doubled.

We are so grateful for your partnership,


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Unable to Access Recovery Loans, Puerto Rico Waits for Promised Federal Aid

Washington DC - According to FEMA, out of 9000 recovery projects requested for Puerto Rico since Hurricanes Maria and Irma struck in 2017, less than 190 projects received funding. Over the same period 3700 projects were funded in Texas and more than 3700 in Florida reports the New York Times.

"Because of Puerto Rico's debt crisis, the island can't access loans to speed up recovery efforts. Puerto Rico is completely reliant on FEMA aid," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has focused on the islands debt and disaster issues since 2014. "Puerto Rico continues to suffer because it can't borrow money and FEMA is too slow to deliver already approved monies for Puerto Rico."

In November, the American Society of Civil Engineers released a report noting that Puerto Rico's dams, bridges and other infrastructure need $13 to $23 billion in repairs over the next 10 years. The group highlighted that due to "deferred maintenance and hurricane-related recovery projects, the investment gap is even larger."

"Before the hurricanes hit two years ago, Puerto Rico's roads, bridges and electrical grid were already in disrepair because of the island's debt crisis," stated LeCompte. "Of about $50 billion federally approved for recovery, less than $20 billion reached the US Territory and up to another $70 billion still needs to be approved by Congress."

Read the report from the American Society of Civil Engineers here

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Senate Votes: Human Trafficking, Debt Relief and Transparency


Next week the Senate decides if Jubilee's Corporate Transparency Act will be voted on.

Thanks to your thousands of calls, petitions, postcards and messages over the last year — the House of Representatives passed the Corporate Transparency Act and we won White House and US Treasury support.

Together we worked on this bipartisan legislation for the last ten years, it finally passed the House and now we need to work together to get it passed the Senate.

Our legislation reveals the true owners of anonymous shell companies to law enforcement. These shell companies are used to hide profits of human traffickers. Dictators and corrupt governments use shell companies to steal debt relief and development aid. Illegal weapons dealers use them. Criminals running Medicaid scams rely on these shell corporations.

For the Senate to move this Republican and Democratic legislation out of committee for a vote next week we need you to do two things:

1.) Please email your Senators now and ask them to co-sponsor Jubilee USA's transparency bills. If you already contacted them, it's urgent you send them another message.

2.) Next week, on December 3rd, we'll deliver our faith community letter to Senators asking them to support this critical legislation. Please have your faith community, congregation or religious institution sign this letter by December 2nd.

Working together, we've made it this far. Now we need you to act again and help us clear one more hurdle to make another piece of Jubilee legislation become law.



Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

P.s. In the next few weeks, we likely face 4 votes in Congress and we really need your help. Puerto Rico, Somalia, a new NAFTA and the Corporate Transparency Act face votes. Please make a donation to Jubilee USA Network as we win critical Jubilee legislation. All gifts for Jubilee USA are doubled now.


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Eric LeCompte Addresses United Nations on Resolving Debt, Financial and Climate Crises

Jubilee USA's Director Eric LeCompte spoke at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland for the UN Conference on Trade and Development ‎12th Debt Management Conference. Read his remarks on debt, tax and transparency policies that address the root causes of poverty. Read the speech below or linked here


The 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Debt Management Conference:
Making Debt Work for Development
United Nations
Geneva, Switzerland 

Building Resilient, Sustainable Communities, Lifting the Vulnerable, Addressing Inequality and Mitigating Natural Disasters

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network
November 19th, 2019
Remarks As Prepared for Delivery


I want to extend my gratitude to all of the organizers of the 12th UNCTAD Debt Management Conference: Making Debt Work for Development. This convening comes at a critical, frightening moment. While the title of these UN Meetings encourages debt to work for development, we need to ask the question: is debt hindering development?

With UNCTAD noting that debt sustainability in developing countries is “deteriorating fast” and the International Monetary Fund stating in August that 47% of low-income countries are in debt crisis or facing high debt distress, human beings are suffering. In too many poor countries, high debts mean people don’t eat, people don’t see doctors and communities are unprepared to deal with the havoc caused by tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and other extreme weather events.

Because of high unsustainable debts, corruption, a lack of public budget transparency, tax evasion, tax avoidance and bad trade deals – countries are losing revenue and this real revenue loss becomes a theft from the poor. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children under the age of five are dying every single day. 

If these numbers aren’t frightening enough, these same structural causes of poverty are also why we have extreme inequality. Why 80 people have more wealth than 3.5 billion or half the world’s people, people who live in poverty.

High debts and these other structural issues are why the IMF and UNCTAD are warning all of us that we could experience another global financial crisis. This frightens all of us.

This convening comes at a critical, frightening moment and we ask are debts hindering development, are high debts creating the conditions for another global financial crisis? 

My organization, Jubilee USA Network is well positioned to respond to these issues because of our unique history in creating and supporting policies that successfully resolve unsustainable debts, prevent financial crisis and diminish poverty.

Jubilee USA is part of the broader community of global organizations that coalesced around resolving debt crisis in the poorest countries of the world over 20 years ago. Jubilee USA moves forward global policies that address the root causes of poverty and inequality related to debt, tax, trade and transparency issues. In the United States, Jubilee USA’s founders and members include the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Jewish World Service, Islamic Relief, the United Church of Christ, The Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Episcopal Church and most mainline Christian Churches. 

Congressional Quarterly cites the work of Jubilee USA as some of the last truly bipartisan efforts in the United States.

In the 1990’s we began our work together to address inequality and finance development by addressing the global debt crisis. Working with many of you in this room and governments around the world, together, we won two great debt relief and financing initiatives to address global poverty and promote children’s education and health: The Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Because of these initiatives, over $115 billion was won in debt relief to benefit some of the world’s poorest countries. 

Because of that debt relief, we know in sub-Saharan Africa that more than 54 million kids went to school who never would have seen the inside of a classroom. We know that school fees were cancelled, hospitals were opened, because of this historic initiative, because of this relief and the international accountability laws that we won, all of this money had to go into building social infrastructure. Former World Bank President Jim Kim cites debt relief as one of the main reasons we saw sustained economic growth in some countries across Africa.

It was out of these initiatives that concepts around achieving debt sustainability were born. 

Unfortunately, as successful and important as HIPC and MDRI were, we now realize that those solutions were not enough to entirely address the problem. Out of the 38 very poor countries that benefited from the HIPC and MDRI initiatives, 31 again face debt distress, financial crisis or unsustainable debts. 31 out of 38. At this point only Somalia is able to qualify for this existing process. Eventually 2 other countries may be able to utilize this process. 

But for every other country in the world, this door is now closed.

While the door is closed now for almost every country in the world on this process, we acknowledge that it was only because of the political will of the people in this room and our countries that this happened. In 2016 we saw that political will again in the United States under the Republican led US Congress when a super bankruptcy process was created to deal with Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt crisis. It was the first act of the US Congress to stop predatory “vulture funds.” After Haiti’s tragic earthquake, we saw world leaders and the IMF create a process to relieve Haiti’s debt. Just a few years ago, we saw that political will again when the IMF moved forward a debt relief process and innovative grant process to respond to the 3 Ebola affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leon and Liberia.

We also see the US Government and the G20 working to stop “vulture funds,” promote sustainable development and prevent financial crisis with the Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Development. Political will mobilized again to create new contract clauses to stop predatory “vulture funds.”  

Now we need that political will again. 

We need that political will from all of us to ensure that debt is a vehicle for sustainable development, not a hindrance to development and a cause of human suffering. We need to make debt sustainable and restructurings predictable to stop another global financial crisis.

While the problems are great, there are solutions we can move forward now. 

With political will growing, we can tackle some of the debt problems of Small Island Developing States or SIDS. Across the world, many of these islands have poverty rates that range from 30% to 50%. These so called Middle-Income Small Islands are now facing crisis. Of the 25 highest debt per capita countries, more than half are SIDS.

Unsustainable debts mean that these small islands don’t have resources to deal with the shock of a hurricane or a financial crisis that stops tourists from visiting their countries. When hurricanes decimated Caribbean islands in the last five years, we saw countries like Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda make debt payments within days of a hurricane ravaging their country. It is imperative to move forward proposals that can restructure debt when countries face shocks or natural disasters. 

We see the success of proposals like this, when debt relief was successfully used as a crisis response tool for the three African countries hit by the Ebola epidemic. 

When disaster strikes, when famine spreads and when economic crisis impacts the poor, we need to be able to reevaluate these situations. In line with our previous thoughts on improving debt restructuring and looking at Chapter 9 and 11 styles of bankruptcy – it seems the Caribbean and SIDS could be good candidates for a regional or focused initiative. This post HIPC initiative, could be an initiative with the high debt distress many Caribbean countries and SIDS are experiencing. It can utilize the principles of bankruptcy for a regional or focused mechanism. When a disaster strikes, a debt moratorium would allow breathing space and debt payments to be used for rebuilding. This would also be a time to reevaluate debt sustainability and possibly trigger a bankruptcy restructuring process.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again.

For small islands, on a smaller scale, we can test solutions that can build resilient, sustainable communities, address inequality and lift the vulnerable. Starting here, we can build the political will to finally resolve debt crisis and stop global financial crises.

Thank you.


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Report Highlights Failing Puerto Rico Bridges, Roads and Infrastructure

Washington DC - This week the American Society of Civil Engineers released a report noting that Puerto Rico's dams, bridges and other infrastructure need $13 to $23 billion in repairs over the next 10 years. The group highlighted that due to "deferred maintenance and hurricane-related recovery projects, the investment gap is even larger."

"Before the hurricanes hit two years ago, Puerto Rico's roads, bridges and electrical grid were already in disrepair because of the island's debt crisis," stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. LeCompte's organization focused on Puerto Rico debt and disaster policies since 2014. "Now that even approved federal disaster monies are not reaching the island, the situation in Puerto Rico feels bleak."

In 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Of about $50 billion federally approved for recovery, less than $20 billion reached the US Territory.

Read the report from the American Society of Civil Engineers here

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National Catholic Reporter Cites Eric LeCompte on Pope's Amazon Synod

The National Catholic Reporter cites Eric LeCompte on the Pope's message on ecological and economic themes in the recent Amazon Synod. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

The Amazon synod is about the concept of social sin, not married priests

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Eric LeCompte's Thoughts Featured in Crux on Amazon Synod

Crux features Eric LeCompte's thoughts on the recent Amazon Synod and the Pope's economic and ecological message. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Activist says idea of ‘ecological sin’ boils down to, ‘We consume too much'

NEW YORK - In recent years, Jubilee USA Network has won more than $130 billion in debt relief for some of the poorest countries around the globe inspired by Pope Saint John Paul II’s Jubilee Year call to stand in solidarity with the world’s poor.

Now, executive director Eric LeCompte is hoping Pope Francis’s Synod on the Amazon will help further galvanize Catholics in the U.S. to turn their attention to a region he believes has been in part degraded by American policies.

In an interview with Crux, LeCompte described why he believes the focus of the Amazon Synod shouldn’t be on married priests or women, but rather on the pope’s economic and ecological message.

Crux: Much of the focus on the synod has been on married priests and women deacons, but you’re concerned that the pope’s economic and ecological message is overshadowed. How so?

LeCompte: When we see CNN or read USA Today, we are led to believe that the synod was entirely about married priests and women deacons. Married priests and the diaconate are only a small focus in this document.

We should not forget that the synod primarily moves forward an Amazon rite, and like other rites that are in communion with Rome, we see married priests that help fulfill their people’s spiritual needs. There is also an unsaid reality that in the deep, hard to reach places of the Amazon, married priests may already exist.

But in a synod squarely focused on the Amazon, ministerial shifts for the Amazon are in part about servicing people so their economic needs are met and their human rights are protected. We read the final document and of the 33 pages, ministerial shifts are only a few lines.

What we see when we read the document, is a strong focus to protect indigenous communities, human rights defenders and our planet. Perhaps the strongest message in the final document, that the mainstream media kicked aside, is that many of the regional and global challenges we do have in common, is that we are all consuming too much.

The final document has some strong language about ecological sin? What does that mean to you?

We can boil down the synod’s message simply to: we are consuming too much.

Whether we live in the Amazon or the United States of America, we all are consuming too much. It’s a tough message and it may be the closest the Catholic Church has ever gotten to the concept of social sin, that as an entire society - our level of consumption is sinful. Our level of consumption is hurting our planet, depriving the poor and disconnecting us from one another. While this is a regional document, it gets pretty specific on the idea of ecological sin. The document not only encourages us to check our addiction on fossil fuels, but even specifically challenges us to consume less meat.

The final document also calls for new models of “fair, solidarity, and sustainable development.” In what ways do you believe the U.S. is responsible for the degradation in the Amazon?

In the Holy Father’s homily at the closing Mass of the synod, he lifted one of the concepts most important to him. We must stop predatory development models in the Amazon. These are models that exploit the people of the Amazon and take their resources while benefiting foreigners.

Many U.S. corporations are notorious for land grabs and taking resources in ways that do violence to the Amazon’s communities and ecosystems. Trade agreements with the United States protect U.S. corporations when they do harm in the Amazon. The World Bank does development by giving loans for the extraction of natural resources. Some communities in the Amazon participate in these abuses too, some because their lives depend on it and others for exploiting profit.

In what practical ways do you think the synod can help the U.S. Church?

Because we are talking about an Amazon rite, I doubt in the U.S. Church we’ll see married priests as a solution to our priest shortage anytime soon. One of the global aspects though, is that the Holy See is reopening the global conversation on a diaconate that includes women. That conversation could help fulfill some of the religious needs of our U.S. communities.

If we read the 33-page outcome document of the synod, the message ultimately is that we all deserve to live in a world where we have enough, and not too much. It’s this message that can help us in the United States be in closer communion with one another, in solidarity with people fighting for survival in the Amazon and closer to our loving God.


Read more here

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