Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Urges State Officials to Reevaluate Contracts with Citigroup and Bank of America over Second Amendment Infringement
Apr 18 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent the following letters to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder urging them to reevaluate state contracts with Citigroup and Bank of America over Second Amendment infringements.
“Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make banking a red versus blue issue by trampling on the Second Amendment rights of small business owners. I want to make sure Louisiana isn’t rewarding this behavior with state contracts,” said Sen. John Kennedy. “Rather than impose its political agenda on law-abiding citizens, Wall Street banks ought to remember how taxpayers bailed them out after the 2008 financial crisis.”
April 18, 2018
The Honorable John Bel Edwards
State of Louisiana
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Dear Governor Edwards:
I am gravely concerned about Citigroup and Bank of America’s new commercial firearms policies. This corporate overreach stands to hurt many small businesses in our state, who will lose their banking services for simply choosing to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment. In response to these politically-motivated policies, I respectfully urge you to locate and terminate any contract between these banks and the state of Louisiana.
I find it disturbing that these government-chartered banks may be profiting from taxpayer-funded contracts at the same time that they are severing ties with Louisiana businesses. During the financial crisis, Citigroup and Bank of America received taxpayer-funded bailouts worth $812.3 billion. These days, not only does Citigroup have a lucrative contract with the federal government, but it has come to my attention that Bank of America may supply purchasing card and credit card processing services to several state agencies in Louisiana. I ask that you confirm the existence of these or any other state contracts and outline your plans to cancel them. Please know that I have already petitioned the General Services Administration to cancel Citigroup’s federal contract.
For background, these banks have rolled out new firearms policies that penalize banking clients who follow state and local law but do not adhere to these new corporate standards. Citigroup’s new policy would place extralegal restrictions on the sale of guns and accessories. Bank of America issued a similar policy aimed at gun manufacturers that produce “military-style firearms”. These policies are an affront to responsible gun owners everywhere and, in my view, are downright offensive.
These corporate firearm policies affect small businesses, commercial and institutional clients, and even their credit card partners across our state. It is unclear how many entities in Louisiana will lose their banking services. I am hopeful that this disturbing trend in the banking industry can be stopped before we are left with red banks and blue banks.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. It is offensive that New York banks are taking taxpayer dollars with one hand, and using the other to come after Louisiana’s guns.
United States Senator
cc: Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne
The second letter to State Treasurer John Schroder is below:
April 17, 2018
State Treasurer John Schroder
State Bond Commission
900 N. 3rd St.
Baton Rouge, LA. 70802
Dear Treasurer Schroder,
I write today with grave concern about the firearm policies of Citigroup and Bank of America that stand to hurt many small businesses and consumers in Louisiana. I respectfully urge State Bond Commission members to explore if Citigroup and Bank of America currently service state contracts or have business dealings with the commission. There is no reason for these banks to profit from taxpayer-funded contracts while excluding Louisiana businesses from their banking services.
For background, Citigroup announced their new U.S. Commercial Firearms Policy, which details how it will sever services with law-abiding businesses who do not adhere to the following practices:
1. Businesses cannot sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check.
2. They must restrict the sale of firearms to individuals under 21 years of age.
3. They cannot sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.
This policy now applies across Citigroup and affects small businesses, commercial and institutional clients, and even their credit card partners. I have inquired about the specific number of entities in our state that will lose banking services with Citigroup.
Bank of America, the second largest bank in the country, followed suit and issued a similar policy that specifically targets gun manufacturers. They will no longer underwrite or finance businesses that manufacture “military-style firearms”. This is an affront to responsible gun owners everywhere and, in my view, is downright offensive. I am hopeful that this disturbing trend in the banking industry can be stopped before we are left with red banks and blue banks.
During the financial crisis, Citigroup and Bank of America received taxpayer-funded bailouts worth $812.3 billion. These days, Citigroup has a lucrative contract with the federal government. Please know that I have petitioned the General Services Administration to cancel this contract and will continue to fight for Louisiana citizens who choose to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. It is offensive that government-chartered New York banks are coming after Louisiana guns.
United States Senator
cc: Gov. John Bel Edwards
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser
Sen. John Alario
Rep. Taylor F. Barras
Secretary of State Tom Schedler
Attorney General Jeff Landry
Sen. Eric Lafleur
Sen. Jean-Paul J. Morrell
Sen. John R. Smith
Rep. Cameron Henry
Rep. Neil Abramson
Rep. James Morris
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne