Renewed Patriot Act hits U.S. exporters with bigger civil penalties
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security now has the authority to issue civil penalties of $50,000 per charge under President Bush’s reauthorized antiterrorism legislation.
The 2005 USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act, which became effective on March 9, regulates penalty amounts for enforcement regulations covered under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The president has used authority under IEEPA to allow the Commerce Department to continue controlling exports since the Export Administration Act lapsed. Prior to the new Patriot Act, civil penalties for export violations were $10,000 per charge.
Under the new Patriot Act, civil penalties may be severe because there could be multiple charges per violation. The legislation does not impact existing criminal fines for violations of the country’s export control regulations. However, it increases jail sentences from a maximum 10 years to 20 years for criminal violations, a BIS official confirmed.
The new civil and criminal penalties for export violations are still less than those proposed in a bill introduced by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill, in mid-December. The so-called Export Administration Renewal Act (H.R. 4572) would raise civil penalties for export violations up to $500,000 per violation. Criminal penalties would be 10 times the value of the export or up to $5 million, whichever is greater.