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Fitzpatrick to lead task force on terror financing

WASHINGTON – Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick will lead a House task force aimed at finding ways to cut off financing for terrorist groups, the House Financial Services Committee announced this week.

Fitzpatrick, a Republican, will chair the Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing, which will work on the issue for six months and recommend legislation, if needed, to bolster U.S. efforts to stop financing from reaching terrorist groups such as ISIS.

The bipartisan task force of around 20 lawmakers will look into "terrorist financing, evaluating the security of the U.S. banking system and asking the tough questions as to whether or not we are doing enough," Fitzpatrick said in a telephone interview Friday.

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Financial Services Committee, said the task force will study the issue by speaking to experts and counter-terrorism officials and aim to produce a report around September with any needed fixes. Plans could include additional latitude to U.S. intelligence officials or sanctions against American or foreign banks that help shuttle money to terrorist groups.

"This is an area – disrupting terrorist networks, cutting off their financing – that is and must remain completely bipartisan," Fitzpatrick said of any potential legislation.

Last fall he traveled abroad to meet with banking and financing experts about the issue.

The members of the task force will be chosen by Republican and Democratic leaders on the Financial Services Committee. The task force's parameters will be established in a committee vote expected next week, Fitzpatrick said.

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