Heritage’s David Burton Testifies Before Congress on Financial Privacy

HERITAGE IMPACT

Heritage’s David Burton Testifies Before Congress on Financial Privacy

December 13th, 2021

David Burton, a senior fellow in Heritage’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, testified before lawmakers at a Dec. 8 hearing by the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee.

The panel discussed the findings of a report called the Pandora Papers, which consists of millions of leaked documents exposing the hidden wealth of billionaires, politicians, and public officials in more than 91 countries. Many lawmakers focused on calling for transparency and enforcement by regulators during the hearing.

Burton’s opening statement noted that it was important to have financial privacy in a free society and that balancing the needs of citizens, small businesses, and governments is crucial.

“We should be under no illusion whether personal and financial privacy are inextricably linked,” said Burton. “A government, or a private organization for that matter, that knows everything about our financial life will know virtually everything about our private life, including our business, political, social and religious associations and inclinations, what we buy and own, where we travel and more. Ever-increasing surveillance and mandatory reporting endanger the freedom of the American people.”

Burton continued: “The current regulatory regime is overly complex and burdensome, and its ad hoc nature has likely impeded efforts to combat terrorism, enforce laws, and collect taxes. Moreover, the current framework appears to be grossly cost ineffective. To better meet the needs of the citizens these laws are meant to serve, regulators must develop better information about the costs and benefits of the current regime and Congress must implement reforms reducing the burden and intrusiveness of these rules.

You can watch Burton’s full testimony here.