Earlier this year, 4 supposedly bi-partisan Senators proposed a bill which would significantly expand the power of the federal government and their ability to seize law-abiding citizen’s money when traveling in or out of the USA.
The law known as the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017″, introduced by Grassley of Iowa (R), John Cornyn of Texas (R), Dianne Feinstein of California (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse of RI (D) has a stated effect of trying to make it more difficult for terrorists to take money overseas or bring money back into the USA. The law is officially known as S.1241.This law does have some good points don’t get me wrong. And we need to be proactive when it comes to fighting terrorism. However there are some parts to the law which are downright scary.
Under the current federal law, any traveler who is carrying $10,000 in cash must report this to the US Customs when traveling overseas. Failure to do so can lead to the seizure of your cash. However the new law would expand this to “prepaid access devices, stored value cards, digital currencies, and other similar instruments”. Understand that when you own a “digital currency” such as bitcoin, theoretically you are always carrying the currency with you, even though you have never touched the currency. If you don’t know the exact value of your “bitcoin” and you forget to note on the Customs form that you own bitcoin and its value rises (as it has in the past few weeks) you are in violation of S.1241,and are risking having your assets seized. And a 10 year prison sentence to boot.
Think about what I just said. A person invests in bitcoin at $1,000 per – does not pay attention to the value of their investment (and most people do not pay attention to their investments on a daily basis) and this person would not think to report their bitcoin on the Customs form. They are in violation of the law, and the only thing they did is what 90% of the US does – not following the value of their investments on a daily or hourly basis.
Just as troubling is the fact that the law now treats a blank check in your luggage as currency, provided you have in excess of $10,000 in the bank. Let’s say I want to travel to Vienna Austria. Our Fearless Leader Jeanine Martin could want me to buy something from a castle gift shop, and not know what the price of the gift is. So she gives me a blank check. I put the blank check in my luggage. Jeanine has (for example) $20,000 in her checking account. If I get searched by Customs, and they see the blank check in my wallet, Jeanine could be automatically be required to forfeit her bank account because she gave me a blank check. And since the definition of “monetary instrument” is defined differently as never before, theoretically, I could go overseas to Italy with a book of blank checks in my coat, and if I have more than $10,000 in my bank account, I’d be guilty of violating S.1241 and thus could have my checking account seized. Not to mention 10 years in prison for having blank checks and a bank account.
Remember this also includes “stored value cards”. One of my best friends married a gal from Moldova. Above all things Moldovans need calling cards. And they are very expensive in Moldova. It is not unreasonable for a person to go to Moldova with thousands of dollars in pre-paid calling cards – and thus be committing a crime – all because the costs of calling to and from Kishinev Moldova are 20 times more expensive than calling to the rest of East Europe.
We have a very important election coming up in Virginia in 2018. We have at least 3 well known conservatives in the race. Ask each of them how they feel about S.1241. Do they support this bill in its current form? Do Corey Stewart or EW Jackson or Nick Freitas want changes made to S.1241? Call your Congressman/woman and tell them that you don’t to give the feds another reason to seize your hard earned money based on a whim.