June 22, 2021

Brown: These Nominees Will Protect Our National Security From Terrorists and Financial Criminals

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, delivered the following opening statement at today’s nominations hearing for Brian Nelson to be Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes and Elizabeth Rosenberg to be Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing.

Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

This hearing will come to order.

Today we will consider President Biden’s nominations for two key Treasury roles charged with combatting domestic and international terrorism and financial crimes: Brian Nelson, to be Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, and Elizabeth Rosenberg, to be Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing. 

Welcome to you both, and to your family and friends who are here and watching remotely. Thank you for all of your work serving the public, and for your willingness to serve in these critical roles. I also welcome Senator Leahy and Senator Padilla to the Committee, and thank them for taking time to introduce our nominees today.

Both of today’s nominees have substantial experience relevant to the critical national security positions to which they have been nominated. If confirmed, both would take on these jobs at a crucial time for protecting our country’s national security, as we work to rebuild alliances abroad, while threats of domestic terrorism are on the rise at home.

The FBI Director testified recently that racially-motivated and anti-government extremists are likely to be the biggest domestic threat this year and in 2022. 

Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is one of the cornerstones of our country’s efforts to combat terrorist financing, at home and around the world. 

The offices these two nominees would lead are charged with protecting our financial system from terrorists and other criminals, and with combating rogue nations, WMD proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and others who threaten our national security.

Mr. Nelson brings a strong record of public service, and from our discussions I think will be a tough, assertive enforcer of our nation’s sanctions laws against rogue states, money launderers, terrorists and narco-traffickers.

Mr. Nelson clerked for two distinguished federal judges and served at the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. He worked extensively on countering terrorism, illicit finance, and other crimes.

He went to work for the California Department of Justice, where he served as Special Assistant Attorney General and then as General Counsel to then-Attorney General, now Vice-President Kamala Harris.  

Mr. Nelson, we look forward to your testimony, and to an ongoing collaboration with the Committee following what I hope will be a quick confirmation process.

Elizabeth Rosenberg is a senior leader familiar to many members of the Committee from her testimony before us. President Biden has nominated her to serve as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing. Ms. Rosenberg got her education in my home state, at Oberlin College, and has served in a number of senior roles in the Treasury Department working on anti- money laundering, sanctions, and counter-terrorist financing policy. 

She currently serves as a senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, and has distinguished herself throughout her career in policy debates on terrorism, illicit finance, proliferation finance, and sanctions. 

If confirmed, she will be responsible for formulating and coordinating the counter terrorist financing and anti-money laundering efforts of the Department, and overseeing the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

Her substantial experience makes Ms. Rosenberg uniquely qualified to take on this important role.

Ms. Rosenberg, we welcome you back to the Committee, and hope your nomination will move through the Committee quickly as well. 

We look forward to both nominees’ testimony this morning.