Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., on a proposal to “incentivize the U.S. Secretary of State to publish the names of human rights abusers, like those responsible for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and kleptocrats who are barred from entry into the United States due to human rights abuses.”
Cardin brought out the “Revealing and Explaining Visa Exclusions for Accountability and Legitimacy (REVEAL) Act” with Rubio as a co-sponsor. They noted that, as of now, the White House and U.S. State Department “generally keeps the identities of these individuals confidential, preventing public ‘naming and shaming’ that would increase the deterrent effect of visa sanctions.”
“I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan and bicameral REVEAL Act, which would allow the U.S. president to reveal the names of individuals who are ineligible from entering our nation, including sanctioned human rights abusers,” Rubio said. “Not only will this bill provide much-needed transparency and accountability, it will also be a useful tool in exposing kleptocrats and human rights abusers.”
“As we have demonstrated time and time again with the Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability laws, naming and shaming is a powerful action we can take to deter corruption and human rights abuse,” Cardin said. “Kleptocrats rely on anonymity—when we bring their crimes to light, we curb their power. The United States should not allow crooks and cronies to hide behind confidentiality.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
Over in the U.S. House, U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, are championing the proposal.
“Kleptocracy is a serious threat to democracy around the world. In order to preserve freedom of speech and civil society, our foreign policy must be transparent and allow our allies to have the information they need to protect themselves and their democracies from corrupt networks and politicians,” Cohen said.
“Dictators and their cronies rely on access to western countries to keep their corrupt regimes and businesses going, and visa bans are a crucial tool to curtail that access,” Chabot said. “However, common sense dictates we should also let the world know who we are excluding, so that other governments can follow our lead. Right now, our ability to share such information is limited by current law. The REVEAL Act remedies this situation by explicitly giving the executive branch the ability to publicize who they choose to exclude.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.