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“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.

“Louisiana workers who lost jobs to the pandemic need a lifeline. Our businesses need help to keep their employees on payroll. Parents need tools to keep their kids learning, and they need more options for returning to work safely. Senate Republicans just voted to deliver all this and more. Unfortunately, Democrats again killed the bill and snuffed out hope for the aid Louisiana families so desperately need.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after Senate Democrats today blocked a $500 billion coronavirus relief bill aimed at helping families, small businesses, schools and health services.

“Louisiana workers who lost jobs to the pandemic need a lifeline. Our businesses need help to keep their employees on payroll. Parents need tools to keep their kids learning, and they need more options for returning to work safely. Senate Republicans just voted to deliver all this and more. Unfortunately, Democrats again killed the bill and snuffed out hope for the aid Louisiana families so desperately need. Why are Democrats so intent on stopping America’s economic recovery in its tracks?” said Kennedy.

The relief package would inject $259 billion of liquidity into the financial system, which would support loans to eligible businesses, states and municipalities. The bill includes crucial liability protections for hospitals, health care workers, businesses, schools, nonprofit institutions and local government agencies.­­

The bill focuses relief on both workers and employers. It provides $300 per week in additional federally funded unemployment benefits through Dec. 27, 2020 to individuals who qualified for benefits under the CARES Act. The bill also creates a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and simplifies the forgiveness process for current and future PPP borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less.

The legislation provides $105 billion to help all students in elementary, secondary and higher education continue to learn. The bill gives an additional $5 billion to support child care providers so that parents can return to work while keeping their children safe.

The bill makes America more prepared for pandemics by increasing the country’s ability to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics domestically, providing $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development and distribution. The package would increase state and national stockpiles of medical supplies for public health emergencies and provides $16 billion for testing, contact tracing and surveillance in states.

The bill provides $20 billion to address coronavirus-related impacts on our farmers, ranchers, growers and processors. In addition, it authorizes $500 million for direct federal assistance to fishers, fishery participants and communities impacted by the pandemic.

There’s still more Congress can do to support Americans as they reignite our economy, and Senate Republicans just voted—again—to send aid to small businesses around the country. It’s sad but not surprising that so many of my Democratic colleagues today blocked another round of PPP funding, even though the Paycheck Protection Program has supported at least 800,000 jobs in Louisiana alone.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after Senate Democrats today blocked the Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act, which would increase support for small businesses.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has helped Louisiana’s small businesses keep their doors open and workers on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic. There’s still more Congress can do to support Americans as they reignite our economy, and Senate Republicans just voted—again—to send aid to small businesses around the country. It’s sad but not surprising that so many of my Democratic colleagues today blocked another round of PPP funding, even though the Paycheck Protection Program has supported at least 800,000 jobs in Louisiana alone,” said Kennedy.

The Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act provides $257.7 billion to restart the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and allows small businesses to receive a second PPP loan. The bill sets aside $25 billion for entities with 10 or fewer employees and $10 billion for loans made by small community lenders, including community financial institutions, credit unions, insured depository institutions and Farm Credit System institutions.

The Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act also simplifies the forgiveness application process for current and future PPP borrowers receiving loans of $150,000 or less. The bill expands eligible expenses to include supplier costs, personal protective equipment, property damage costs resulting from vandalism or looting and certain operations expenditures.

In addition, the bill gives the SBA authority to commit $780 billion in PPP loans. 

The Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act increases transparency by giving $50 million for the SBA to audit loans.

“Thousands of utility linemen are putting their safety at risk to repair Louisiana’s electrical grid after Hurricanes Laura and Delta devastated our state. In my book, these heroes are first responders, so my bill would legally add utility line technicians to Homeland Security’s list of first-responder occupations. I hope my colleagues join me in giving these brave linemen the recognition they deserve by moving this bill forward.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a bill to revise the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of “emergency response providers” to include utility line technicians. The definition in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 grants first-responder status to an array of occupations such as law enforcement, emergency public safety personnel and fire and medical rescuers, but does not currently include utility linemen. 

“Thousands of utility linemen are putting their safety at risk to repair Louisiana’s electrical grid after Hurricanes Laura and Delta devastated our state. In my book, these heroes are first responders, so my bill would legally add utility line technicians to Homeland Security’s list of first-responder occupations. I hope my colleagues join me in giving these brave linemen the recognition they deserve by moving this bill forward,” said Kennedy.

This fall, Hurricanes Laura and Delta destroyed thousands of Louisiana’s utility poles, lines and substations, particularly in the southwest portion of the state. More than 8,300 utility line technicians are working in disaster conditions to rebuild electrical infrastructure across Louisiana.