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house Bill H.R. 324

Boo! Scaring Away Ghost Money (i.e. Foreign Bribery)

Argument in favor

This bill would prevent American intelligence agencies from fostering corruption in foreign countries.

Argument opposed

American intelligence agencies need to be able to use unorthodox methods if they want to remain effective.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedJanuary 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 324?

This bill would effectively prohibit all branches of the federal government from bribing or coercing public officials in foreign countries. This means it's still legal for organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to bribe the citizens of foreign countries.

It would also require the CIA to report to Congress all payments it made to officials in Afghanistan after September 11th, 2001.
It’s worth noting that the President can waive any requirements in this bill if following them will harm national security or members of the military.


The Federal government; foreign officials; federal contractors; the CIA; the government of Afghanistan; foreign governments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 324

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to eliminate wasteful government spending. When she introduced this bill in 2013, Rep. Lee explained in a press release that the bill would eliminate wasteful spending:

"'Ghost money' payments via suitcases stuffed with cash to corrupt regimes directly contradicts our strategic goals both in Afghanistan and around the world. We’ve got to end this destructive practice, and that’s exactly what my bill will do. This practice is a recipe for economic disaster and shows misplaced priorities. Especially at a time when funding for Head Start and Meals on Wheels is being gutted, we need to know how every dollar is being spent. This is a glaring instance wasted taxpayer dollars."

Of Note: The motivation behind this bill came from revelations that the CIA was handing over bags of money to Afghan President Karzai for access into his inner circles. The hope was also that the money would grant the CIA information and influence in the presidential palace:  

"There is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,' one American official said, 'was the United States.'"


(Photo Credit: Vice News)


No More Ghost Money Act

Official Title

To prohibit monetary payments by the Federal Government to employees, officers, and elected officials of foreign countries for purposes of bribery, coercion, or any activity that is illegal or undermines the rule of law or corrupts a public officer or the office such officer represents, and for other purposes.

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