Sending Office: Honorable Stephen F. Lynch
On behalf of the bipartisan Task Force on Anti-Terrorism & Proliferation Financing, we would like to invite you to a “Brown Bag Lunch” briefing to examine risks that can occur when the U.S.
Government Leases High-Security Space from Foreign Owners. The briefing will be held on
Friday June 9th, 2017, 12-1 p.m. in HVC 210.
In January of 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, “GSA Should Inform Tenant Agencies When Leasing High-Security Space from Foreign Owners,” which noted 20 instances
of the General Services Administration (GSA) leasing high-security space for government agencies in buildings that were foreign-owned. These spaces included six Federal Bureau of Investigation field offices and three Drug Enforcement Administration field offices
located in buildings owned by companies based in Canada, China, Israel, Japan, and South Korea. In addition, the GAO report noted that the GSA did not have ownership information for about one-third of the GSA’s 1,406 high-security leases as of March 2016.
Risks related to anonymous companies and hidden beneficial owners in commercial real estate formed the basis of the recommendations provided in the GAO’s report – that the beneficial owners of high-security leased space be identified and shared with tenant
agencies in order to mitigate security concerns. Without beneficial ownership information serious risks may not be properly managed, including the source of funds used to finance the building and potential money laundering connected to the foreign-owned building.
In response to the GAO report, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) and Congressman Peter King (R-New York), the co-chairs of the Task Force on Anti-Terrorism & Proliferation Financing, introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2426, the Secure Government
Buildings from Espionage Act of 2017. H.R. 2426 would ensure that beneficial ownership information is collected as part of the government leasing process for buildings with high-security leased space.
GAO will discuss the findings and recommendations in its
report. Their team members will be joined by Eryn Schornick, Counsel, Policy Advisor, Global Witness who is engaged in follow-up actions.
Thank you for your consideration.
Stephen F. Lynch Peter King
Member of Congress (MA-08) Member of Congress (NY-02)
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