September 17, 2015

Sen. Brown Opening Statement at Banking Committee's Hearing on Treasury Nominee for Counterterrorism Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at today’s hearing on the nomination of Adam J. Szubin to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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

Senator Sherrod Brown - Opening Statement
Nomination Hearing: “Adam J. Szubin to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury”

Sept. 17, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your willingness to allow a hearing on this nomination.

Acting Treasury Under Secretary Adam Szubin has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations in senior positions related to economic sanctions and countering terrorist financing. He is eminently qualified for this position.   

Before I describe Under Secretary Szubin’s superb credentials and experience, I want to underscore a point my Democratic colleagues and I have been making to the chairman for months about pending Banking Committee nominations.

For nine months, the Committee has failed to carry out its duty to consider and act upon the President's nominees. Before today, we had not held a single nomination hearing.

By contrast, in 2007, the seventh year of the Bush Administration when Senate and White House control were also divided, the Banking Committee had held three nomination hearings before the August recess and the Senate had confirmed more than a dozen Committee nominees.

Given all the concerns surrounding terrorist financing, you would think this nomination would be a priority. 

In the past it has been. Mr. Szubin’s mentor, Bush Under Secretary Stuart Levey, was confirmed by the Senate just three weeks after his nomination came to this committee; Mr. Szubin’s immediate predecessor took us two and a half months to consider.

Some of the pending nominees have been waiting since January for a hearing. They deserve hearings and votes, and I hope the chairman will promptly move them through the Committee process and to the Senate floor for consideration.

That said, I’m delighted that Under Secretary Szubin is again before us, this time to discuss the critical role of the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence office of the Treasury Department in the US government’s whole-of-government approach to combating terrorist financing. That office marshals the Department's intelligence and enforcement functions with the dual aims of safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats.

Over the last fifteen years Mr. Szubin has distinguished himself as a tough, aggressive enforcer of our nation’s sanctions laws against countries like Russia, Iran, and North Korea; and against money launderers, terrorists, and narco-traffickers.

After earning undergraduate and law degrees with high honors, Mr. Szubin was a Fulbright scholar in Israel before joining the Department of Justice.

He served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General and was a Trial Attorney on the Terrorism Litigation Task Force, receiving the Justice Department’s Special Commendation award for his work countering terrorism. From 2006 to 2015 he directed Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, where many of us first came to know him as a thoughtful policymaker and superb lawyer.

The Anti-Defamation League, in a recent letter endorsing Adam’s nomination, described him as “an intellectual heavyweight who has worked effectively with global partners to amplify the effects of US sanctions.” I could not agree more.

I welcome him back to the Committee, and look forward to his testimony and dialogue with the committee, and what I hope will be an accelerated confirmation process going forward.