Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.),  announced today that U.S. Attorney David Joseph has been nominated by President Trump to be an Alexandria-based judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

“David is smart and incredibly experienced.  He is an ideal candidate for the U.S. District Court,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I look forward to working with him during the confirmation process.”

“David Joseph’s extensive experience and knowledge of the law make him a perfect nominee for the bench,” said Sen. Cassidy.  “I look forward to his confirmation.”

   

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined S.1838, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, to support the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.  The bill calls for anyone who violates human rights in Hong Kong to be sanctioned and barred from entering the U.S.  It had more than 50 cosponsors in the Senate.

The bill also requires an annual report to Congress on whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China.  The report must address a number of issues, including civil liberties in Hong Kong. 

“China’s reaction to the protests in Hong Kong was a huge mistake.  China’s President Xi Jinping is destroying an economic jewel and inviting the world to see how he governs.  He’s an authoritarian despot,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This bill makes it clear that China needs to change the way it deals with Hong Kong.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed the Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment (C-Band) Act today to ensure that at least $10 billion of the proceeds from a public auction of C-Band spectrum will be invested in rural broadband infrastructure. 

Sen. Kennedy successfully convinced the Federal Communications Commission to hold a public auction for the C-Band spectrum needed to deliver 5G technology that will make driverless cars, remote surgeries and other innovations possible.  This is a win for the American taxpayers because the alternative was a private sale that would only benefit foreign satellite companies.

The Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment (C-Band) Act builds on the benefit to the American taxpayers by ensuring the public auction will be held and directing not less than $10 billion of the proceeds to go toward rural broadband infrastructure.  The rest of the proceeds will be deposited into the U.S. Treasury.

“5G means incredibly fast internet and phone calls.  We’ll notice it in our iPads, computers and cellphones.  These radio waves can go a long distance and carry a huge amount of data,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Everyone should benefit, even if they live 100 miles from the nearest Starbucks and stadium-size supermarket.  Too often, people in rural areas have to wait a long time for the latest technology.  My bill will ensure that much needed investments are made.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation that will extend protections against fraudulent and unauthorized transactions to small businesses.  The Small Business Fraud Protection Act will extend the period small businesses have to report fraudulent transactions without being held liable from 24 hours to 60 days.  According to CNBC, cybercrime has become one of the fastest growing forms of criminal activity, with 43% of cybercrimes aimed at small businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “They employ 53% of our private sector workforce.  Unfortunately, we’re not protecting these economic engines from fraud like we should.  We only give businesses 24 hours to report suspected financial wrongdoing by cybercriminals.  We’re giving the criminal the upper hand.  That changes with this bill.”

“The small mom and pop shops along New Jersey’s Main Streets keep our economy alive and flourishing,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Whether it’s a shop along one of our boardwalks or in one of our bustling downtown districts, small businesses deserve to be protected from fraud.  After one of my constituents brought this issue to my attention several months ago, I knew something had to be done to better protect small businesses.  I’m proud to introduce this commonsense piece of legislation and look forward to it becoming law.” 

The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) currently protects individual consumers from unauthorized electronic activity by allowing consumers to report fraud up to 60 days after the suspicious activity.  Small businesses, however, are not protected under the EFTA and only have 24 hours to report fraud without being held responsible for the entire unauthorized transaction.  The Small Business Fraud Protection Act levels the playing field by extending the same fraud protections afforded to individuals under the EFTA’s consumer liability section to include small businesses.

The bill is inspired by a real-life experience.  Benjamin Zinckgraf, president of Zinckgraf Electrical Contractors, LLC, a small business based in Mt. Arlington, N.J., noticed a nearly $100 unauthorized transaction in his business checking account.  When Mr. Zinckgraf contacted his bank and filed a fraud report, he was told that since he didn’t report it within 24 hours of the transaction, they were unable to conduct an investigation and he would be held liable for the cost.  He contacted Sen. Menendez’s Newark office to see if current laws could be changed to better protect small business owners.

“The Small Business Fraud Protection Act is a move in the right direction.  It will help protect our assets against the rise of cybercrime.  At minimum it will give small businesses adequate time to report an issue, which is very much needed for busy Americans,” said Benjamin Zinckgraf.  “I would like to thank Senator Menendez and his dedicated team for pushing this piece of legislation through.  It’s always good to know our politicians are on our side.”

“Small businesses are a growing and increasingly profitable target of cybercriminals, and bank account hacks cost small businesses on-average $32,020 per incident.  It is a huge oversight that the banking accounts of America’s smallest businesses aren’t fully protected against fraud and online theft,” said National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken.  “This important legislation will close that loophole.”

"Small businesses deserve the same protections from fraud and unauthorized transactions as consumers," said Amanda Ballantyne, Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance. "Extending the Electronic Fund Transfer Act's consumer protections to small businesses will give small businesses the time needed to identify and act against fraud, an important resource as cyber security and other financial threats are on the rise."

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on Saturday’s election results:

“I’d like to congratulate Gov. Edwards on his re-election.  We may not always agree, but we will continue working together on important issues, including coastal restoration and opioid addiction.  At the end of the day, Louisiana families come first,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I’d also like to congratulate Eddie Rispone on running a good race.  He has great ideas for moving this state forward.  He can be proud of the conversations he started, and the race he and Linda ran.”

 

 

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 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Federal Communications Commission heeded his calls to put American taxpayers ahead of foreign companies’ profits by agreeing to hold a public auction to free up C-band spectrum for 5G technology. 

A public auction ensures a transparent process and allows the U.S. to be a world leader in new 5G technology that will impact everything from health care to driving.  Sen. Kennedy has advocated for a public, government-run auction.

“Chairman Pai is putting the American taxpayers and our 5G efforts first by conducting a public auction.  There were swamp creatures in government who were trying to help their telecommunication buddies put all four feet and their snout into the trough.  Fortunately, the FCC prevented that from happening,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This spectrum belongs to the American people.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked VH1 to cancel Cartel Crew, which glorifies the lives of people with ties to the worst drug lords in history.  The latest cast addition is Emma Coronel Aispuro, who is married to the now imprisoned leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

“For the life of me, I cannot understand why VH1 would cast Emma Aispuro when families across the U.S. struggle daily with drug addiction.  Her husband is a monster, who was once the second most wanted fugitive in the world behind Osama bin Laden.  She helped him escape from prison, acted as his public relations manager, laughed in court during his trial and now wants to sell clothing stamped with the El Chapo name,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “VH1 is promoting her as a loyal wife who stood by the biggest drug trafficker of our time.  They’re glorifying a brutal, deadly lifestyle that creates countless victims.  This is the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever seen.”

Sen. Kennedy’s letter to VH1 is copied below:

November 13, 2019

Mr. Chris McCarthy
President, VH1
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Dear Mr. McCarthy:

I am writing to urge you to cancel the show Cartel Crew and to refrain from producing any similar series. The entire premise of the show is disturbing as it glorifies drug cartels and those who live in luxury off the wealth these criminal groups corruptly amass. I am extremely concerned youth in Louisiana and across the country will watch this show and come to believe that crime pays, which is the grossly irresponsible message you are sending.

VH1 describes Cartel Crew as a docuseries that follows relatives of cartel leaders as “they set out to live legit lives and make names for themselves outside of the drug world.” The words and deeds of the featured individuals suggests otherwise. A regular source of contention between cast members is how closely they are connected to cartels, with each one trying to one-up the next. One cast member is even ostracized for her familial connection to a New York City police officer–as if an association with a law enforcement officer is a bad thing.

When asked about her crimes, cast member Michael Blanco said “my mother didn’t have a choice” due to the fact that she grew up poor. Blanco’s mother is Griselda Blanco, better known as “Cocaine Godmother,” a drug lord in the Medellin Cartel who was responsible for nearly two-hundred murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. in the 1990s and early 2000s. This is history that cannot be rationally excused for any reason whatsoever. Blanco also launched a clothing line that features his mother’s photo on merchandise, and regularly refers back to his cartel connections when it benefits him. His actions demonstrate zero interest in fully separating from his criminal past.

Your most recent addition to the cast, Emma Coronel Aispuro, is the most startling and tone deaf choice. Aispuro is the wife of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as “El Chapo.” El Chapo is the single most dangerous individual of our time, having created and led the Sinaloa Cartel on its destructive path of trafficking drugs and people for decades. Since establishing his crime syndicate in the late 1980s, El Chapo has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, both through direct violence and the devastating impact of drug addiction. At one point in time, El Chapo was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s World’s Most Wanted Fugitives List, second only to Osama bin Laden. Aispuro has shown no remorse or regret for the destruction the Sinaloa Cartel (her husband specifically) has caused, as she continues to operate at a high level in the crime syndicate. In 2015, she directed and facilitated El Chapo’s escape from a Mexican prison, leading her to come under federal investigation in the U.S. for conspiracy. Furthermore, she is currently working on developing a fashion line called “El Chapo Guzman,” invoking her husband’s most well-known moniker in order to increase her personal earnings. Aispuro clearly intends to profit from the notoriety her cartel connections afford her. By adding her to the show, VH1 is complicit in her scheme to benefit off the exploitation and abuse of the thousands of Sinaloa Cartel victims.

On one hand, cast members of Cartel Crew claim to be liberated from their past, yet they invoke their families’ names and sinister histories whenever it proves beneficial. VH1 has the obligation to be a responsible steward of public media. This show is an offense to anyone, anywhere who has been affected by illegal drugs and the people who supply them. By using the bloodstained histories of these individuals to make and profit off a television series, you are complicit in the promotion of a horrifically criminal and violent way of life. It is clear you need to reconsider the standard your network uses when developing television shows.

It is past time for Cartel Crew to be cancelled. It should have never been created in the first place.

Sincerely,

John Kennedy

U.S. Senator

cc: Mr. Robert Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) met with authors John Grisham, Dan Brown, Douglas Preston and other members of the Authors Guild today to discuss the senator’s work to pass the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act.  The CASE Act will make it easier and more affordable for creators to defend their intellectual property from copyright infringers.

The CASE Act establishes a Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office for small business entrepreneurs like musicians, photographers, authors and graphic designers to file suit against copyright infringers. The legislation advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee in July.

“I’m thankful for the outpouring of support for the CASE Act from award-winning artists and authors like John Grisham, Dan Brown and Douglas Preston,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Every creator has to start with an idea, and up-and-coming creators don’t always have the funds to legally protect their intellectual property.  The CASE Act makes copyright protection more accessible to all American artists and creators.”

Sen. Kennedy pictured with authors Dan Brown, John Grisham and Douglas Preston (left to right).

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed the Eliminating Corporate Shadow Banking Act of 2019 today to close loopholes that would allow commercial companies to offer banking services without oversight by the Federal Reserve. 

At issue are Industrial Loan Companies, or ILCs, which were established in 1910 to lend money to industrial workers.  With an ILC charter, companies can offer financial services without adhering to the same regulations and oversight as traditional banks.  Rakuten Bank America’s parent company is owned by Rakuten Inc., which has been described as the Amazon of Japan.  Not only is Rakuten Bank America seeking an ILC charter from the state of Utah to offer loans and credit cards to customers nationwide, but it also applied to the FDIC for federal deposit insurance since it will be offering a variety of consumer deposit products.

“It’s just a bad idea for commerce and banking to mix.  Not only is it unfair to community banks who have to play by different rules, it’s bad for consumers.  Companies like Google and Facebook already are so big that they’re countries.  If they’re allowed to handle your banking services, they’re going to turn into continents,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The Federal Reserve exists for a reason.  The Rakutens and the Googles of the world shouldn’t be able to circumvent the Fed.”

“ICBA and community banks across the nation thank Sen. Kennedy for introducing legislation that would close the industrial loan company loophole, which for too long has threatened the financial system by allowing commercial interests to own full-service banks while avoiding key regulations and consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve,” Independent Community Bankers of America President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “Any company that wishes to own a full-service bank should be subject to the same restrictions and supervision that apply to any other bank holding company. We look forward to advancing this important and needed policy fix, which promotes a safe and sound financial system and maintains the needed separation of banking and commerce.”

“Sen. Kennedy’s legislation addresses a longstanding concern of Louisiana bankers.  There should be one set of rules instead of special rules for a select few,” said Robert Taylor, chief executive officer of the Louisiana Bankers Association.  “By closing the ILC loophole, Sen. Kennedy is protecting consumers and assuring stability to the financial system through proper oversight.  We applaud Sen. Kennedy’s work.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on FEMA’s decision to delay a new risk rating system for the National Flood Insurance Program: 

“This is very positive news for Louisiana families.  The fact that we live near the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean that we flood every other Tuesday.  We shouldn’t be punished because of geography when we supply quality seafood and work to make this country energy independent.  Most of the LNG that the U.S. exports is produced in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I have serious concerns about Louisiana families being able to afford flood insurance under the proposed Risk Rating System 2.0.  The National Flood Insurance Program only makes sense if people’s premiums don’t cost as much as their mortgage.  This delay gives us time to resolve those concerns.”

During his tenure in office, Sen. Kennedy has worked to make the National Flood Insurance Program affordable and sustainable.  He recently filed the National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act to give the FEMA Administrator the authority to fire any consultant, contractor, lawyer, or engineer, who engages in conduct that is detrimental to the mission of the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

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