Senate Bill Tackles Tax Evasion, Secrecy and Money Laundering

Washington DC - Last Wednesday, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, which would reveal the secret owners of shell corporations to law enforcement.

"This legislation is critical to stop crime, tax evasion and corruption," stated United Nations finance expert and Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte. "Shell companies facilitate human trafficking, tax evasion and the stealing of relief monies in the developing world."

In mid-June the House of Representatives voted in the House Financial Services Committee to release the House Bill for a vote this year. The House legislation is sponsored by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).  

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IMF's Lagarde Nominated to Head European Central Bank

Jubilee USA Releases Statement 

Washington DC - The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, was nominated Tuesday to lead the European Central Bank.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"Lagarde brings a lot to the helm of the European Central Bank. She understands the concerns of potential financial crisis and the need for keeping women at the center of decision-making.

"Her legal background is important as our global economy needs more than economic forecasts and now requires legal solutions to ensure financial stability.

"During her time at the IMF, Lagarde dealt with the Greek crisis and came to understand that austerity is a deterrent for economic growth. This lesson is important as economic policies need to support growth and sustain employment across Europe."

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We Won - NAFTA, Puerto Rico, Tax Transparency

Friends,

Thanks to your support and partnership, we won our campaign for emergency food and housing assistance for people recovering from hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico.

Your support, e-mails and calls to Congress moved forward more than $8 billion in debt relief and disaster aid for Puerto Rico and billions more for Americans wrestling with disasters from California to Minnesota and Texas to Florida. 

Please join me and make a donation to Jubilee USA Network today so we can keep on winning. For the next week, your tax-deductible gift will be doubled.

Your gift means:

  • We can move forward debt and disaster relief for Puerto Rico. Already your efforts won $50 billion in aid and moved forward a super bankruptcy process for the island. Your gift means we can work to make sure debt relief means stopping austerity policies and winning the $70 billion in recovery aid Puerto Rico still needs.

  • Congress just introduced our legislation to combat financial secrecy and anonymous shell corporations. This type of "Panama Papers" secrecy facilitates the theft of debt relief aid, human trafficking and contributes to the loss of more than a trillion dollars of revenue in the developing world. With your support, we can get this legislation signed into law in the next year.

  • Working together, we moved the White House on eliminating harmful provisions in trade agreements that favor predatory debt collecting hedge funds and abusive corporations. Now as negotiations continue on a new NAFTA, your support means we can push for access to medicines for vulnerable populations and all who need life saving medicines.

  • When you make a contribution to Jubilee USA now, you further our efforts to address student debt and payday lending. Working together, we ensured certain types of student loans had low interest rates. When you donate to Jubilee USA now, it means our bipartisan work can build bridges to protect students and consumers.

Please make a contribution to Jubilee USA today so we can continue to move forward strategic campaigns. Your gifts are doubled and matched for the next week.

Summer is the most difficult time for fundraising and for us to sustain our work.

Your contributions are needed and so appreciated as we work to move the White House, Congress, the G20 and the IMF during these hot summer months.


Gratefully,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

 

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G20 Leaders Wrestle with Trade, Climate and Financial Crisis

Jubilee USA Releases Statement on Japan Summit

Osaka, Japan - Leaders of the world's wealthiest economies gathered at the annual G20 Summit to discuss global policies on trade, climate, debt, tax and financial crisis prevention.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement on the G20 Japan Summit:
"Trade tensions, climate change concerns and preventing global financial crisis dominated much of the Osaka Summit.

"There is great concern at the G20 meetings about debt crises and future financial crisis.

"The G20 was founded to prevent financial crisis and there is willingness to move forward global policies on debt sustainability and transparency. The question is whether or not we can achieve policies that move beyond voluntary crisis prevention and implement binding policies that will prevent future crisis.

"Combating financial secrecy and raising revenue in countries remained a key focus of the Japan meetings.

"Fundamentally, we need trade policies that protect workers and the vulnerable. We need to see shifts in the status quo on trade policies.

"Climate is a critical issue, especially as the G20 focused this meeting on ensuring that economies can be more resilient in the face of natural disasters. Economies that can be resilient in the face of disaster need debt policies that offer relief until recovery goals are met."

 

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Amidst Puerto Rico Financial Crisis, Island Religious Leaders Call for Global Debt and Transparency Policies

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Last week, Archbishop Roberto González—the leader of the Archdiocese of San Juan, the Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Bible Society—Reverend Heriberto Martínez and the island's Catholic Charities head, Reverend Enrique Camacho released a statement urging solidarity with countries wrestling with debt crisis and economic challenges.

“In hope and solidarity, we also stand with our friends across the developing world wrestling with debt crises and high child poverty rates. We support the proposals of our religious partners across the Caribbean calling for debt relief in the face of hurricanes and natural disasters," stated González, Martínez and Camacho in a statement released at the 500 year-old Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. "We stand with our global partners and the United Nations calling for debt relief, transparency, responsible lending and borrowing, anti-corruption efforts and the right to a global bankruptcy process that lifts the vulnerable."

Puerto Rico is mired in a $72 billion debt crisis and struggling to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the statement, the religious leaders expressed concern over the island's debt crisis, pension protections and austerity policies in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico continues to struggle with disaster recovery, debt crisis and child poverty and migration epidemics," noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "While Puerto Rico's religious leaders continue to confront the challenges facing their own people, they continue to express their wishes for global policy changes to lift vulnerable people in every corner of the world."

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in English

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in español

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The Alabama Political Reporter Features Jubilee USA's Puerto Rico Efforts

The Alabama Political Reporter quoted Executive Director Eric LeCompte following a joint press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico yesterday. LeCompte and several religious leaders from the island released a statement addressing recent developments in the resolution of Puerto Rico’s crushing debt, specifically, a newly released deal to protect government pensions from being cut as a result of the efforts. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

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Puerto Rico Religious Leaders and Eric LeCompte Appear on Major Telemundo Television Segment

Jubilee USA Network Executive Director Eric LeCompte was featured in a June 14 Telemundo broadcast discussing recently decided Puerto Rican pension agreements. In a press conference, LeCompte and several faith leaders from the island praised the agreements as  positive step forward in addressing Puerto Rico’s unmanageable debt. Read an excerpt from the broadcast below, and follow this link to the full video.

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Archbishop, Evangelical Leader and Head of Catholic Charities Call for Puerto Rico Pension Protection and Debt and Disaster Relief

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Archbishop Roberto González, the Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Bible Society Reverend Heriberto Martínez and the island's Catholic Charities head, Reverend Enrique Camacho released a statement calling for support of pension agreements and debt and disaster relief for the island on Friday.

“This week as the oversight board met and workers voted on new pension proposals, we appreciate that the oversight board kept the promise to protect the pensions. We stand with labor leaders in urging the passage of pension plans that protect the vulnerable and protect the pensions of most of our people," stated González, Martínez and Camacho in a statement released at the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.

The press conference held at one of the oldest Cathedrals in the Hemisphere, responded to new disaster relief authorized by President Trump, proposed pension agreements, meetings this week of Puerto Rico's oversight board and the court bankruptcy process. The head of the religious development group Jubilee USA, Eric LeCompte, joined the San Juan press conference along with Catholic, United Church of Christ, Lutheran and Disciple religious leaders from the United States.

"For the first time in any debt restructuring for a US city, territory or country, we are seeing pensions being protected," noted Jubilee USA Director and United Nations debt expert, Eric LeCompte. "While we are extremely pleased by the pension proposals, we also must see Puerto Rico's debt cut by at least 80 percent."

Puerto Rico is mired in a $72 billion debt crisis and struggling to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The major Puerto Rico religious leaders assert their ability to resolve disaster and debt crises are hampered by their relationship with the United States.

“Our ability for resiliency, recovery and resolving our own challenges is tied to our political and colonial status. We call on our people and our officials to begin a new and creative dialogue to resolve our political status," asserted González, Martínez and Camacho in their statement.

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in English

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in español

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Puerto Rico Archbishop, Religious Leader Statement on Debt, Disaster Aid and Pensions

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble,
it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck
and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
- Matthew 18:6

Since 2015, with the support and advice of the religious Jubilee USA Network, we called on decision makers, our people and the faithful to work towards a Jubilee for Puerto Rico.

In the face of a debt crisis and a 60% child poverty rate, we called for debt relief, stopping austerity policies, protecting public pensions and reducing child poverty on our island.

We've been concerned about corruption in our own government. Congress made a promise that in exchange for debt relief and a "super bankruptcy process," a fiscal oversight board would be imposed on Puerto Rico.

After Congress passed emergency debt relief legislation in 2016, we felt debt relief was in sight. Early plans created by Puerto Rico's oversight board saw debt payments cut by 80%. Congress passed protections for the pensions and the official audit process. Congress began to move forward measures to reduce child poverty.

We hoped that the promises made to our people would be kept.

Sadly, in the Fall of 2017 when Hurricanes Maria and Irma ravaged our island, our hopes for debt relief and child poverty reduction became additional victims of the hurricanes.

Because of rosy economic growth projections from potential federal aid and construction monies, the oversight board negotiated to pay more debt. While there were some innovations in PREPA and COFINA debt proposals, they fell short in delivering enough debt relief—they fell short in the promise of a Jubilee.

When proposals fail to offer enough debt relief, the cost is paid by our people—especially by our children.

We also saw the official debt audit process dismantled. Congress failed to pass all of our recommendations to reduce child poverty.

Recovering from hurricanes, wrestling with debt crisis, we still are a people of hope—a people that know that our hope is tied to the Paschal Mystery. Resurrection conquers death and light always illuminates the darkness.

Last week, President Trump signed a bill to deliver more disaster relief to our islands. Now more than $50 billion is allocated for recovery and we call on Congress and the White House to continue this effort and deliver the additional $70 billion that we still need to recover.

This week as the oversight board met and workers voted on new pension proposals, we appreciate that the oversight board kept the promise to protect the pensions. We stand with labor leaders in urging the passage of pension plans that protect the vulnerable and protect the pensions of most of our people.

As the bankruptcy process and negotiations with creditors continued this week, we are grateful that discussions focus on higher debt cuts again.

We call on our Governor, the oversight board and the creditors to agree on debt haircuts similar to pre-hurricane debt plans—debt cuts of 80 cents on the dollar. Because of the work of noted economists and our partners at Jubilee USA, we know we cannot risk an overall debt cut of less than 80%.

Our people and our government officials must unite around ending our child poverty and migration epidemics. Our future is in our people and it is a social sin that so many of our children live in poverty.

In hope and solidarity, we also stand with our friends across the developing world wrestling with debt crises and high child poverty rates. We support the proposals of our religious partners across the Caribbean calling for debt relief in the face of hurricanes and natural disasters. We stand with our global partners and the United Nations calling for debt relief, transparency, responsible lending and borrowing, anti-corruption efforts and the right to a global bankruptcy process that lifts the vulnerable.

In Puerto Rico, we are reminded that we lack the tools to fully deal with many challenges—let alone crises created from unpayable debts and unavoidable disasters.

We remain trapped because Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States.

Our ability for resiliency, recovery and resolving our own challenges is tied to our political and colonial status. We call on our people and our officials to begin a new and creative dialogue to resolve our political status.

Our future and the future of our children rely on dealing with these questions. Our lives depend on right relationships with one another and with the United States—on fulfilling the Creator's promise of Jubilee.


Metropolitan Archbishop Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM, Catholic Archdiocese San Juan de Puerto Rico

Reverend Heriberto Martínez-Rivera, Secretary General of Puerto Rico’s Bible Society and Coordinator of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Coalition of Puerto Rico

Reverend Enrique Camacho, Director, Cáritas de Puerto Rico (Catholic Charities Puerto Rico)

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