The Biden Administration has recently declared the global fight against corruption to be a national security priority. Too often, though, the fight against global corruption and illicit financial flows is seen only as a national security or good governance agenda outside the U.S., unconnected to domestic policy agendas and the struggles of working Americans.
Money laundering in U.S. real estate and its impact on the U.S. housing market is one concrete example of how these issues intersect with domestic priorities, including addressing economic inequality. The Biden Administration has proposed a “foreign policy for the middle-class” and Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said, “Everything we do in our foreign policy and national security will be measured by a basic metric: Is it going to make life better, safer, and easier for working families?” An anti-corruption strategy that tackles corruption in the real estate sector would be a concrete manifestation of this policy aspiration. A new report from Global Financial Integrity, “Acres of Money Laundering: Why U.S. Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream”, provides clear evidence of billions of dollars being laundered through U.S. real estate, often using anonymous shell companies, and shows “the ease with which kleptocrats, criminals, sanctions evaders, and corrupt government officials choose the U.S. real estate market as their preferred destination to hide and launder proceeds from illicit activities.” U.S. housing inventory is law and housing prices are soaring. Competition from international investors, some of whom are only trying to launder money, is affecting American families looking for affordable housing.
Join the FACT Coalition, Global Financial Integrity, and Transparency International’s U.S. Office to learn from experts about the scope of this problem and what the U.S. should do to fight money laundering through real estate to combat global corruption and create fairer housing markets.