A bipartisan measure introduced Monday by 8th District Democrat Elissa Slotkin seeks to cut off a potential revenue stream for the Russian government as it continues its assault on Ukraine.
The Stop Russian GOLD Act would prevent Russia’s Central Bank from using its extensive gold reserves to fund the war against Ukraine. It would do that by imposing secondary sanctions on anyone transacting with or transporting gold from Russia’s Central Bank holdings or selling gold physically or electronically in Russia while directing the U.S. Treasury Department to develop clear compliance guidelines for U.S. citizens to ensure Americans avoid unknowingly investing in or transacting with Russian gold.
Cosponsors of the legislation include U.S. Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Susie Lee (D-NV), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
According to the International Monetary Fund, Russia holds more than $130 billion U.S. dollars in gold, about 20% of its total reserves, making it one of the biggest sovereign gold-owners in the world.
Since the international community began enforcing sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government has been buying more gold to compensate for the crash in the value of the ruble.
“As Ukrainian civilians are fleeing for their lives, we have to make the consequences for Putin’s barbarism as painful as possible for him and his regime, and we need to slam shut every door he could try to use to evade sanctions,” said Rep. Slotkin. “This is a bipartisan effort to shut one of those doors and make sure Russia can’t use its gold reserves to fund the atrocities being carried out across Ukraine. Our bill will close this loophole and block another potential revenue stream that would otherwise be used to prop up Putin’s regime and continue to fund his war against the Ukrainian people.”
That assessment was backed up by fellow Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer, a Grand Rapids Republican.
“The existing loophole in current sanctions that allows Russia to liquidate gold reserves enables Putin and his cronies to continue financing their criminal war in Ukraine,” said Meijer. “Our bill closes this loophole, ensuring that Putin’s vile regime finds no way around the United States’ and the international community’s crippling sanctions. We must continue all efforts that guarantee his government feels maximum pain from economic and diplomatic isolation.”
Slotkin, a former CIA intelligence analyst and senior official at the Pentagon, also recently introduced the Ukraine Lend-Lease Act to expedite shipments of security assistance to the Ukrainian military; the American Energy for Europe Act to help wean Europe off Russian oil and natural gas; and the DICTATOR Act to investigate whether China is helping the Russian government evade international sanctions.