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“Banks have a duty to treat their clients fairly, and the OCC is right to make that clear. . . . Banks can’t simply refuse to lend to industries that have fallen out of favor with liberal elites, especially when those industries are supporting the Bill of Rights.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement supporting the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) proposed rule to ensure fair access to credit, capital and other banking services for all customers.

“Banks have a duty to treat their clients fairly, and the OCC is right to make that clear. The most basic part of fairness means banks can’t discriminate against people or companies that are following the law. Banks can’t simply refuse to lend to industries that have fallen out of favor with liberal elites, especially when those industries are supporting the Bill of Rights,” said Kennedy.

Banks have recently been discriminating against legal businesses, particularly those selling firearms, ammunition and sporting goods. The U.S. Constitution protects those industries, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 mandated fair access to banking services in the wake of substantial government funding that was invested into the banking system at that time.

Kennedy introduced the No Red and Blue Banks Act to prohibit the federal government from giving contracts to banks that discriminate against lawful businesses based solely on social policy considerations.

Kennedy is also an original cosponsor of the Freedom Financing Act, which would prevent banks from discriminating against industries that comply with the law and are constitutionally protected.

“Perhaps most crucially, Chairman Clayton recognizes the existential threat that Communist China’s schemes pose to U.S. markets and every person whose retirement or college savings depends on the integrity of those markets. He understands that foreign companies listing on American exchanges must be subject to credible audits and has worked toward holding companies accountable when they refuse to play by the rules.”

WASHIGNTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, released the following statement upon reports that Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton will step down at the end of the year after serving there for more than three years.

“Chairman Clayton has worked to fulfill the SEC’s duty to American investors by advocating for Main Street job-creators while strengthening the health and performance of our markets. He has reduced regulations that suffocate growth and returned millions of dollars to defrauded investors.

“Perhaps most crucially, Chairman Clayton recognizes the existential threat that Communist China’s schemes pose to U.S. markets and every person whose retirement or college savings depends on the integrity of those markets. He understands that foreign companies listing on American exchanges must be subject to credible audits and has worked toward holding companies accountable when they refuse to play by the rules. I’m grateful for Jay Clayton’s efforts on all of these fronts and for the chance to work with him over recent years,” said Kennedy.

“Veterans who sacrificed to defend our Constitution shouldn’t see their own rights rest on the judgment of unelected bureaucrats—but right now, they do. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act will prevent government workers from unduly stripping veterans of their right to bear arms.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which prevents veterans from losing their Second Amendment right to purchase or own firearms when they receive help managing their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

“Every veteran who bravely serves our country has earned VA benefits, and it’s wrong for the government to punish veterans who get a helping hand to manage those benefits. Veterans who sacrificed to defend our Constitution shouldn’t see their own rights rest on the judgment of unelected bureaucrats—but right now, they do. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act will prevent government workers from unduly stripping veterans of their right to bear arms,” said Kennedy.

Under current law, the VA is required to send a beneficiary’s name to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) whenever a fiduciary is appointed to help a beneficiary manage his or her VA benefits.

Ultimately, VA employees decide whether veterans receive help from a fiduciary. Hundreds of thousands of veterans have been denied their right to purchase or own firearms as a result of this unilateral process.

Kennedy’s bill would prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from transmitting a veteran’s personal information to NICS unless a relevant judicial authority rules that the beneficiary is a danger to himself or others.

The bill text is available here.

“Allen Stanford’s victims have suffered too long, and it’s past time Societe Generale return their money. I hope to see this $110 million back in the hands of the victims by year’s end.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today announced that $110 million will be returned to victims of Robert Allen Stanford, who coordinated the second-largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

“Allen Stanford’s victims have suffered too long, and it’s past time Societe Generale return their money. I hope to see this $110 million back in the hands of the victims by year’s end. Even then, however, there’s more work to be done to make right Stanford’s theft. I will continue working with Chairman Clayton and Attorney General Barr to prioritize the return of these stolen assets,” said Kennedy.

In June 2019, Swiss courts ordered Societe Generale (SocGen) to return $110 million in frozen assets from the Stanford Ponzi scheme. SocGen decided not to appeal the ruling. The Department of Justice must now work with Swiss authorities to liquidate these funds and return them to the victims.

More than 1,000 Louisianians from Baton Rouge, Covington and Lafayette lost significant amounts of their life savings to Stanford’s fraud.

Background:

In August, Kennedy sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging the administration to withdraw its nomination of Michael Finkel to be a Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Finkel is currently Director and Senior Counsel at SocGen, which controls $210 million that belongs to victims of Stanford’s $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

Kennedy in February sent a letter to SocGen regarding its participation in the Stanford Ponzi scheme. The letter criticized SocGen’s failure to properly monitor Stanford-affiliated bank accounts, which were used to manage the personal assets of the Stanford group’s clientele.

“Cox and AT&T have a duty to their customers, and that starts with transparency. The companies need to be clear about who needs their internet and cable back on and exactly what Cox and AT&T are doing to make that happen.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement urging Cox Communications and AT&T to devote more resources to restoring internet and cable services for Louisiana residents after the companies declined to report the number of customers without service:

“Louisianians hit by Hurricane Zeta are already helping each other recover, but they can’t rebuild or return to work alone. Cox and AT&T have a duty to their customers, and that starts with transparency. The companies need to be clear about who needs their internet and cable back on and exactly what Cox and AT&T are doing to make that happen. My neighbors in southeast Louisiana depend on the internet to support their communities at a time when many people are working and caring for their families from home. Their internet and cable providers need to invest some extra elbow grease into getting those services running again.”

 

“Earlier today, FEMA announced a 30-day extension for Laura victims to register for assistance. The new registration deadline is November 27. We encourage you to apply the same 30-day extension in line with this date.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) today wrote a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting an immediate extension of the deadline for Hurricane Laura victims to register for SBA disaster assistance by an additional 30 days.

“Earlier today, FEMA announced a 30-day extension for Laura victims to register for assistance. The new registration deadline is November 27. We encourage you to apply the same 30-day extension in line with this date,” the lawmakers wrote to Carranza.

Hurricane Laura destroyed power grid infrastructure across Louisiana, which impacted electricity and telecommunications for thousands of residents in the state. The 30-day extension period will allow additional victims to apply for and receive critical assistance. 

At Kennedy’s request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today that it would be extending the deadline for Louisiana residents to register for Hurricane Laura assistance to Nov. 27.

“While the national media quickly moved on from this disaster, our constituents have not. Louisianans affected by Hurricane Laura must now contend with the difficulty of rebuilding their lives during the most dangerous hurricane season on record and also a global pandemic,” the lawmakers added.

Louisiana homeowners and businesses can apply for SBA disaster assistance here.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate approved the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Tonight, the Senate was faithful both to our Constitutional duty and to the mandate Americans sent us here to fulfill. I’m proud to have voted to appoint a Louisianian and judge who will interpret the law as written instead of inventing policy from whole cloth. Democrats are determined to advance their agenda by appointing politicians to the bench, judges who are happy to rewrite social and economic policy every other Thursday. Judge Amy Coney Barrett rejects that model as unconstitutional. Democrats have therefore rejected her. Americans, though, are welcoming Judge Barrett as a justice who will serve the entire United States by upholding our Constitution.”

“I’m thankful that Administrator Gaynor understands the unthinkable position Louisianians in Lake Charles and other parts of the state find themselves in. They’re going to work every day only to come home to roofs that need patching, trees that need clearing and homes that need rebuilding. This extension will make a big difference to the good people hit hard by Hurricane Laura.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led a letter from Louisiana’s congressional delegation to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Pete Gaynor requesting an immediate extension of the deadline for Hurricane Laura victims to register for FEMA assistance. Kennedy also spoke with Gaynor this afternoon, during which the administrator agreed to extend the Oct. 27 deadline for an additional 30-day period.

“I’m thankful that Administrator Gaynor understands the unthinkable position Louisianians in Lake Charles and other parts of the state find themselves in. They’re going to work every day only to come home to roofs that need patching, trees that need clearing and homes that need rebuilding. This extension will make a big difference to the good people hit hard by Hurricane Laura,” said Kennedy.

“Hurricane Laura was one of the most powerful hurricanes to strike Louisiana, and there are still thousands of households without power or internet access in Louisiana. Recovery efforts in the area were impacted by Hurricane Delta, which further contributed to delays in the recovery process,” the lawmakers wrote to Gaynor.

Hurricane Laura destroyed infrastructure associated with the power grid, which impacted electricity and telecommunications for many thousands of residents in Louisiana, and Hurricane Delta increased that damage. 

Federal assistance may include help for temporary housing, rental assistance, property repair or replacement, medical costs, child care and funeral services. The 30-day extension period will allow additional victims to apply for and receive critical assistance. 

“While the national media quickly moved on from this disaster, our constituents have not. Louisianians affected by Hurricane Laura must now contend with the difficulty of rebuilding their lives during the most dangerous hurricane season on record and also a global pandemic,” the delegation explained.

Louisianians can determine whether they live in a designated parish here. More information about disaster relief is available through the FEMA helpline at 800 621 3362 (TTY 800 462 7585) and at disasterassistance.gov.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Judiciary Committee spent 20 hours questioning Judge Barrett, and that made at least two points crystal clear. First, by virtue of her intellect, judicial temperament and integrity, this judge is exceptionally qualified to join the highest court in the land. Second, because of her intellect, judicial temperament and integrity, Democrats have no legitimate objection to her nomination. Instead, they’ve pulled political stunts in order to distract from the truth Americans already recognize: The Senate is doing its Constitutional duty in filling a Supreme Court seat with a jurist who will be loyal to the Constitution.”

“To ensure refiners and retailers can continue to provide American consumers with affordable fuels that are safe for their vehicles and specialized tools, as well as prevent damage to fueling infrastructure, the proportion of biofuels proposed in the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) must not exceed the ‘blend wall’ of 10 percent ethanol.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Senate colleagues in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler not to increase the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for fuel for 2021.

“To ensure refiners and retailers can continue to provide American consumers with affordable fuels that are safe for their vehicles and specialized tools, as well as prevent damage to fueling infrastructure, the proportion of biofuels proposed in the 2021 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) must not exceed the ‘blend wall’ of 10 percent ethanol,” the senators wrote.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel has fallen. This decline in demand is expected to last well into 2021, and any increase in the renewable fuel mandate would cause severe and outsized economic harm, especially for small refiners in Louisiana.

“Any increase in blending volumes mandated under the RFS, especially an expansion of the 2021 RVO, would ultimately impact American consumers forced to bear the associated costs, creating another drag on a national economy that is in a state of fragile recovery from the depths of the pandemic. It is essential that you use all available statutory authorities to see to it that these unnecessary impacts are avoided,” said the senators.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).

The letter is available here.