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Patriot Act nabs Spitzer

In a bit of irony, it seems that a big government law and order liberal got busted by some big government law and ordering. So reports News Week:

The Patriot Act gave the FBI new powers to snoop on suspected terrorists. In the fine print were provisions that gave the Treasury Department authority to demand more information from banks about their customers’ financial transactions. Congress wanted to help the Feds identify terrorist money launderers. But Treasury went further. It issued stringent new regulations that required banks themselves to look for unusual transactions (such as odd patterns of cash withdrawals or wire transfers) and submit SARs—Suspicious Activity Reports—to the government. Facing potentially stiff penalties if they didn’t comply, banks and other financial institutions installed sophisticated software to detect anomalies among millions of daily transactions. They began ranking the risk levels of their customers—on a scale of zero to 100—based on complex formulas that included the credit rating, assets and profession of the account holder.

And it wasn’t just evidence that continued to mount.

So, Spitzer puns still funny?

9 Responses to “Patriot Act nabs Spitzer”

  1. drstrangegun Says:

    Huh. so SARS is deadly after all…

  2. HardCorps Says:


  3. Rustmeister Says:

    I knew the Patriot Act had gone too far back when they caught some dog fighters with it.

  4. Wes S. Says:

    I don’t think Newsweek’s article is quite true, and here’s why: Financial institutions were already required to do that before the Patriot Act was even dreamed of, for the purposes of fighting the War On Drugs and its associated financial shenanigans. Believe me, I know: I work for a riverboat casino in the Midwest, and I’ve been filling out SARs for years.

    In our case, we’re looking for things like, for example, people who buy in for a large amount, putz around at the penny slots or dollar craps table for a few minutes and then cash out. He could be money laundering, you know…

    Another example of “suspicious behavior” is somebody with a pocket of $100 and $500 chips who’s going from cashier to cashier cashing out a couple of grand at a time. Regardless of what the individual is doing, Uncle wants his cut of the action…

    The advice we were given is that if you have any doubts about somebody’s behavior at all, fill out a SAR…and that if you didn’t and the subject was later found to be up to no good, both the casino and the individual employee could face federal charges. I’ve talked to quite a few people who’ve worked in the banking industry, and they’ve been given similar advice.

    All the Patriot Act did was extend the same financial reporting requirements we’re already dealing with in the War on Drugs to the War on Terror. Sorry, Bush bashers, but that particular horse fled the barn a long time ago.

    And yeah, I still find Spitzer puns funny. And the fact that Spitzer was himself brought down by the same financial laws he used so viciously as a weapon against the targets of his (usually unjust) prosecutions strikes me as a case of just desserts.

  5. Xrlq Says:

    Wes, you’re partially right in that to many self-styled libertarians, The Patriot Act is not a reference to an actual statute but a catch-all phrase for “stuff I don’t like.” On the other hand, as one in the financial industry I can assure you that we do have reporting duties under the Patriot Act that did not exist before. They’re pretty mundane, for the most part, but that doesn’t mean a Spitzer type is no more likely to be caught now than he would have been in the late 1990s.

  6. straightarrrow Says:

    The Patriot Act is one of the most unpatriotic travesties ever committed against this nation and its citizens. But isn’t it sweet revenge to see one of its proponents hung by the heels by it?

  7. rightwingprof Says:

    The Patriot Act had nothing to do with it. Congress passed the law that caught Spitzer during the Carter Administration that requires banks to report suspicious activity on accounts.

    No doubt, however, the leftists need to believe the evil Patriot Act brought down their beloved hero.

  8. straightarrrow Says:

    the original banks as snitches law did occur under Carter, but there are also provisions regarding monitoring and tattling by banks in the Patriot Act also.

    And yes, the act is evil. Especially in its implementation. And I am not a liberal nor a libertarian, but with all power given to government it inevitably is abused. That is why such broad grants of power as the Patriot Act are evil.

  9. straightarrrow Says:

    Same goes for the RICO statutes and I’m not mafiosi either.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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