Rep. Kowalko renews call for more LLC oversight

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller

State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) is renewing his call for greater oversight of limited liability corporations registered in Delaware.

An indictment against President Donald Trump’s former campaign officials has sparked new questions about LLCs.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates face multiple charges. They include money laundering, tax fraud and conspiracy.

Of the 23 LLCs Manafort used, nine were registered in Delaware.

Kowalko’s proposal would block applicants who are identified on a federal watch list as a threat to the U.S.

He said his legislation could curb people from hiding money received through money laundering, human trafficking and drug trafficking by using Delaware LLCs.

“But it certainly will enable us to at least cross check the obvious ones,” he said. “And in the case of the Manafort, (it) may not have had any effect at all, but could have pointed out that some of the players were from not just Ukraine, but also on the Russian ban list.”

He’s calling on Judiciary Vice Chair Melanie George Smith to release the bill to the full House. In a June committee hearing, Smith said she couldn’t support the legislation because the state bar association hadn’t vetted the proposal.

“The corporate bar association took umbrage and said that ‘We should be the ones writing these laws,’” he said.

Smith didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story.

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