Apr 30 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) urged members of the Louisiana Legislature today to pause action on House Bill 553, which would authorize an extension of the state’s contract with Harrah’s New Orleans Casino and lock in annual payments to the state. News reports indicate Harrah’s is considering selling the property. The state could unwittingly increase Harrah’s selling price by extending the contract without receiving adequate compensation for taxpayers.
Harrah’s signed an agreement in October to allow Vici Properties to buy its New Orleans casino, hotel and parking garage. Meanwhile, Harrah’s wants an extension of its contract with the state. That contract – which doesn’t expire for another six years – gives Harrah’s the exclusive right to have a land-based casino in New Orleans. The agreement with Vici only recently became public knowledge.
“In light of the new information reported in The Advocate, the Legislature needs to put the contract extension on pause. The contract doesn’t expire for another six years anyway, and the state could be leaving money on the table by making a deal on a property that is about to explode in value,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Harrah’s Vici agreement is a surprise that could shortchange the state. Eighteen years ago, I was on a commission to study whether Harrah’s should pay millions less in taxes because of cash flow problems. I wanted the state to get Harrah’s stock options in exchange for lowering Harrah’s payments. I was out-voted. Subsequently, Harrah’s stock value went up.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today regarding recent emails that detail inappropriate communications from Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler to a subordinate:
“Secretary Schedler has claimed the truth about the sexual harassment allegations against him by his employee ‘can be found somewhere in the middle.’ The emails published today tell a different story. They show that he crossed the line and abused his position,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It saddens me to say this, but Tom needs to resign. There is no place in Louisiana for sexual harassment in the workplace.”
Apr 26 2018
Sen. Kennedy: ‘Citigroup and Bank of America want to treat our people like Hillary Clinton’s deplorables while happily raking in our taxpayer money.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) applauded six members of the State Bond Commission - State Treasurer John Schroder, Attorney General Jeff Landry, House Speaker Taylor Barras and state Reps. Blake Miguez, Stephen Dwight and Raymond J. Crews -today for their votes to protect the Second Amendment rights of Louisiana citizens.
The State Bond Commission tried to block the state from doing business with Citigroup and Bank of America, whose anti-gun policies stand to impact more than 1,400 small businesses across Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards introduced a substitute motion that will allow the banks to continue receiving taxpayer money while trampling on Second Amendment rights. Six members of the State Bond Commission voted against the substitute motion and in favor of holding Citigroup and Bank of America accountable for their anti-gun policies. Unfortunately, the substitute motion passed.
“Citigroup and Bank of America want to treat the people of Louisiana like Hillary Clinton’s deplorables while happily raking in our taxpayer money. Gov. Edwards apparently is fine with letting Wall Street have it both ways,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Gov. Edwards needs to explain to every Louisiana gun owner, gun business and supporter of the Second Amendment why he thinks Wall Street banks shouldn’t be held accountable for their anti-gun policies. He let them off scot-free today even though the CEOs of Citigroup and Bank of America couldn’t even be bothered to come to Louisiana and explain their policies. But those bank officials certainly showed up to take financial bailouts from the American public.”
Sen. Kennedy previously sent letters to the State Bond Commission and Gov. Edwards on this issue. The letters can be found HERE.
Apr 24 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act of 2018. Their bill will protect consumers’ online privacy and data by improving transparency, strengthening consumers’ recourse options when a data breach occurs and ensuring companies are compliant with privacy policies that protect consumers.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Requires terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
- Ensures users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
- Provides users greater access to and control over their data,
- Gives consumers the right to opt out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
- Mandates that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours,
- Offers remedies for users when a privacy violation occurs,
- Requires that online platforms have a privacy program in place.
“I don’t want to hurt Facebook, and I don’t want to regulate them half to death, either. But I have a job to do, and that’s protecting the rights and privacy of our citizens,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our bill gives consumers more control over their private data, requires user agreements to be written in plain English and requires companies to notify users of privacy violations. These are just simple steps that online platforms should have implemented in the first place.”
“Every day companies profit off of the data they’re collecting from Americans, yet leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information, online behavior, and private messages are being used,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Consumers should have the right to control their personal data and that means allowing them to opt out of having their data collected and tracked and alerting them within 72 hours when a privacy violation occurs and their personal information may be compromised. The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today in support Kyle Duncan’s nomination to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
“Kyle’s experience, judicial temperament and his strict interpretation of our Constitution will serve him well on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I am proud to have voted for him, and I look forward to having him back home to serve Louisiana again.”
Click here or the image below to watch the full speech.
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Questions Federal Reserve Official About Big Banks’ Discriminatory Gun Policies
Apr 19 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Randal Quarles, vice chairman of supervision for the Federal Reserve, today about discriminatory policies by Citigroup and Bank of America that threaten small business owners’ Second Amendment rights.
“Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make gun policy for the American people. They’re denying small business owners their Second Amendment rights because of politics,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This is no different than the big banks refusing to do business with someone because they oppose abortion. We don’t need red banks or blue banks. Banks shouldn’t make decisions based on which button a small business owner pushed in the voting booth, especially when taxpayers – Republicans and Democrats alike - bailed them out after the 2008 financial crisis.”
A partial transcript of Sen. Kennedy’s questioning
Sen. Kennedy: Let’s suppose that a customer wants to exercise his First Amendment right to speak out against abortion. Do you think banks ought not to do business with him?
Vice Chairman Quarles: That wouldn’t be my personal view. As a supervisor, I’m not sure it would be my role to direct the bank on that question, but that wouldn’t be my personal view.
Sen. Kennedy: Would your answers be the same if the subject were climate change as opposed to abortion?
Vice Chairman Quarles: Completely.
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Discusses Important Louisiana Infrastructure Projects with High-ranking Army Official
Apr 18 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) discussed funding for Louisiana infrastructure projects with the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, R.D. James, at a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations today. In five minutes, Sen. Kennedy highlighted infrastructure projects across Louisiana that are integral to flood prevention and coastal restoration.
Click here or the photo below to watch:
Federal Permit Process: “Since we have been talking, we have lost a football field of land in Louisiana. You can debate the cause, but you can’t debate the fact that water is rising. We’re spending a lot of our own money to do something about it, but the federal permit process is killing us. We need a little help navigating the federal bureaucracy.”
Maritime Commerce: “Dredging is hugely important in my state. We can’t maintain maritime commerce if you can’t get the boats in. We’ve got to find the money for it.”
Comite River Diversion Canal: “When the Comite River floods, it floods houses and businesses. We want to build a canal from the Mississippi River to the Comite River to take some of the pressure off. You have some extra money now, and it’s time to do something about it.”
Fresh Water Bayou Lock: “The Fresh Water Bayou Lock is one of the top ten in the country in terms of commercial lockage. We need to make sure projects like these have the funding they deserve.”
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
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Sends Letter to President Trump Requesting that Chinese Crawfish and Shrimp be Included on Tariff List
Apr 17 2018
‘For years, Chinese companies have dumped inferior … seafood products into the American marketplace, and Louisiana industries have suffered.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump today asking that he place a tariff on Chinese crawfish and shrimp imported to the United States. The text of the letter is below.
April 17, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I write today regarding your efforts to impose tariffs on certain products made in China. I respectfully request that Chinese crawfish and shrimp be considered for addition to the product list if you decide to impose tariffs. Including crawfish and shrimp would provide a much needed economic boost to the Louisiana seafood industry, which supplies the finest seafood in the world. For years, Chinese companies have dumped inferior, sometimes fraudulent, seafood products into the American marketplace, and Louisiana industries have suffered as a result.
The commercial seafood industry has a $2.4 billion annual impact on Louisiana’s economy but access to the Chinese market has been restricted by policies that discourage foreign competition. If your administration must evaluate additional products subject to subsequent tariffs, I respectfully ask that you give full consideration to the inclusion of Chinese crawfish and shrimp. Louisianans take great pride in their seafood, and this measure would reward hardworking Louisiana shrimpers, crawfish farmers, and consumers.
Again, I am grateful for your consideration. I would welcome the opportunity to share Louisiana’s great seafood with you and discuss this proposal’s benefits to my state. Thank you for your service to America.
United States Senator
cc: The Honorable Sonny Perdue
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer
Director Larry Kudlow
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Introduces Bipartisan Veterans Bill with Sens. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Duckworth (D-Ill.)
Apr 17 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced bipartisan legislation today to help expand economic opportunity for military veterans who are small business owners. The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act would allow veterans to acquire equipment and property that the federal government no longer has a use for by adding them to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus property. The list already includes women and minority small business owners as well as Veterans Service Organizations.
“Our nation’s heroes deserve every bit of support we can give when they return home from their service,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill empowers veteran entrepreneurs by increasing their access to affordable equipment and property. Helping veterans’ small businesses succeed will help create jobs and grow our economy. I will continue to work for the men and women who have devoted their lives to serve and protect our country.”
“When our veterans return home from their service, they deserve our full support as they transition back into civilian life, and that includes supporting their efforts to build and manage a small business,” said Sen. Duckworth. “This bill will help veteran-owned businesses expand their operations, reduce costs, and create jobs across Illinois and around the country. Our nation should be doing much more to help our veterans and I’ll be working with Senators Kennedy and Durbin and other members on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation.”
“Part of honoring the sacrifice our nation’s veterans have made means supporting them when they return home,” said Sen. Durbin. “That is why I am proud to join Senators Tammy Duckworth and John Kennedy in introducing the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, which would encourage small business growth and give veterans opportunities to succeed at home.”
The General Services Administration (GSA) has overseen distribution of federal surplus property for 15 years in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP). When there is no federal need for excess property, SASPs disburse the property to eligible recipients who otherwise may have been unable to acquire it. This legislation is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP).