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“I believe Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to normalize impeachment and to turn it into a routine political weapon was a mistake. In fact, it was reckless. A country as great as ours deserves better, and so do her people.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate rejected both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“The vote today was nothing more than a proxy vote on President Trump. It was a partisan impeachment in both houses. Our founders did not intend impeachment to be used this way. I believe Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to normalize impeachment and to turn it into a routine political weapon was a mistake. In fact, it was reckless. A country as great as ours deserves better, and so do her people.”

“It’s time for SocGen to take responsibility for their role and repay the thousands of victims who lost their life savings in the Stanford Ponzi scheme. We will not stop hunting down these assets, which rightfully belong to many seniors and hard-working people in Louisiana.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) sent a letter to Societe General Private Banking (“SocGen”) regarding its participation in the Stanford Ponzi scheme.

“It’s time for SocGen to take responsibility for their role and repay the thousands of victims who lost their life savings in the Stanford Ponzi scheme. We will not stop hunting down these assets, which rightfully belong to many seniors and hard-working people in Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

“Thousands of people lost everything in this scheme. SocGen’s failure to provide oversight of the Stanford accounts contributed to the victims’ losses. SocGen must make things right for the victims,” said Cassidy.

The letter criticizes SocGen’s failure to properly monitor Stanford-affiliated bank accounts, which were used to manage the personal assets of the Stanford group’s clientele. Although SocGen’s counsel stated there was no evidence that it knew about or participated in the Ponzi scheme, a Swiss court concluded that SocGen didn’t act in good faith when it worked with the Stanford International Bank. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority determined that, in the case of Stanford, SocGen violated its anti-money laundering responsibilities.

Kennedy and Cassidy’s offices conducted a meeting with SocGen’s legal counsel in April to discuss the litigation filed against them, yet no members of the board or management team attended.

“[B]e assured that the absence of SocGen leadership, along with the unsatisfactory and disingenuous responses we received during the course of this meeting, will only encourage our offices to continue its zealous investigation of SocGen and other financial institutions that enabled Allen Stanford and his entities to defraud investors of nearly $7 billion,” wrote Kennedy and Cassidy.

Since the meeting, the Louisiana senators have continued investigating SocGen and other financial institutions that assisted Allen Stanford and his entities in defrauding investors.

“The inescapable conclusion is there was a complete failure of due diligence and monitoring of Stanford-affiliated accounts that SocGen was obligated to conduct. Your counsel stated there was no evidence that it knew about or participated in the Ponzi scheme. Not only does that appear to be a dubious proposition, but, more importantly, the determination of the Swiss court suggests that there are systemic problems with SocGen’s anti-money laundering practices that warrant scrutiny by our offices and applicable regulatory authorities that we will be contacting,” said the senators.

Read the full letter here.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s third State of the Union address.

 “Under President Trump, America has done the hard work of charting a path to remarkable strength and success. I’m firmly in favor of freedom, prosperity and building a better tomorrow for America’s kids. This evening’s address showed the president’s commitment to moving all these priorities forward.

“America is respected around the world again because the president is restoring a strong, decisive national defense. Peace often comes through strength, and America’s enemies know that they don’t get to write the rules any longer. At the same time, American workers are seeing higher wages and more job opportunities because the government is finally moving out of their way. The president is looking for ways to make quality health care affordable as Democrats’ plans for socialized medicine continue to fail hardworking Americans and the people they love.

“In short, Americans have reason to be optimistic. We have reason to be confident. And Congress has every reason to renew our efforts on behalf of workers, families and kids in Louisiana and throughout our country.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced that Felicia Proctor will accompany him to President Donald Trump’s third State of the Union address. Proctor is a Washington native and part of the AbilityOne Program, an independent federal initiative that helps people with disabilities attain meaningful employment.

“It’s my honor to attend the State of the Union with Felicia, who pours her time and talents into helping the Senate run day in and day out. Her dedication to her work is inspiring, and I’m glad to get to share this historic moment with someone whose kindness and professionalism make the Capitol a brighter place,” said Kennedy.

Proctor has four years of experience working for Goodwill of Greater Washington and supporting senators and their staff as a custodian. The AbilityOne Program employs more than 40,000 individuals—including approximately 3,000 veterans—who are blind or otherwise disabled.

This year marks the third time Kennedy has invited a Senate custodian as his guest for the president’s State of the Union address.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement about former St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister:

“Pat was a close friend to Becky and me for many years and a tireless advocate for the people of St. Tammany Parish and Louisiana. Pat’s service was always defined by her humility and ability to inspire those around her. St. Tammany Parish saw incredible economic growth under her leadership. I’m only one of many, many people who feel the loss of Pat as a person and a leader. Becky and I are praying for comfort for the entire Brister family during this sad time.”

“People in rural Louisiana deserve access to quality broadband infrastructure. This grant will allow families to take advantage of this crucial technology to expand their economic and educational opportunities.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $15 million grant from the Department of Agriculture to fund a high-speed broadband infrastructure project for homes and businesses in south Louisiana.

“People in rural Louisiana deserve access to quality broadband infrastructure. This grant will allow families to take advantage of this crucial technology to expand their economic and educational opportunities,” said Kennedy.

The project will develop high-speed internet service for 2,609 rural households, 12 businesses and 16 farms in Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Landry Parishes.

“The real winners here are the American taxpayers who not only own the C-Band, but stand to reap the benefits of 5G. Rather than bailing out foreign satellite companies, money from the auction of this spectrum should go to American priorities. This bill gives us the chance to pay down the national debt, improve public safety and get broadband to rural communities that are still handcuffed to dial-up internet.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the Spectrum Management and Reallocation for Taxpayers (SMART) Act, legislation to ensure billions of dollars in proceeds from the public auction of C-Band spectrum go to the taxpayers who own the spectrum. The SMART Act gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to conduct a public auction of C-Band spectrum and uses nearly all proceeds from the auction to bridge the digital divide, enable next generation public safety services and cut the national deficit.

“The real winners here are the American taxpayers who not only own the C-Band, but stand to reap the benefits of 5G. Rather than bailing out foreign satellite companies, money from the auction of this spectrum should go to American priorities. This bill gives us the chance to pay down the national debt, improve public safety and get broadband to rural communities that are still handcuffed to dial-up internet,” said Kennedy.

“Our bipartisan bill will raise billions so that more people can access the internet. As technology accelerates, we need to do more to close the digital divide and help ensure that everyone benefits,” said Schatz.

“We need money for rural broadband and not giveaways for foreign satellite companies. This bill is a good bipartisan step forward,” said Cantwell.

The SMART Act would ensure that the FCC has the authority to expedite the public auction and clearing of the C-Band for 5G while protecting the millions of people currently using the C-Band. Public auction proceeds would be invested in rural broadband deployment, in building Next Generation 9-1-1 networks and in reducing the national debt.

Kennedy previously called for a public auction of C-Band spectrum to ensure taxpayers benefitted from those sales.

“Qassem Soleimani set fires of hatred across the Middle East, and Ahmad Hamzeh ran to take up Soleimani’s mantle. America should answer his threats against our president, service members and embassies with quick, clear consequences. Americans aren’t buying the poison Hamzeh’s selling, and it’s time for the Treasury to tell him so.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting the secretary place an Iranian lawmaker on the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list for threatening President Donald Trump and encouraging attacks on U.S. embassies and military bases.

“Qassem Soleimani set fires of hatred across the Middle East, and Ahmad Hamzeh ran to take up Soleimani’s mantle. America should answer his threats against our president, service members and embassies with quick, clear consequences. Americans aren’t buying the poison Hamzeh’s selling, and it’s time for the Treasury to tell him so,” said Kennedy.

Ahmad Hamzeh represents Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s hometown and recently offered a bounty of three million dollars for the assassination of President Trump. Hamzeh made the statement after a U.S. airstrike killed Soleimani earlier this month. Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American military personnel and was considered the second most powerful person in Iran. Hamzeh has also urged Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program.

Read the full letter here.

“The 2016 floods devastated communities in Livingston Parish. I’m glad to see this funding support a flood-control project needed to help protect southeast Louisiana residents from future disasters.”

 WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $1 million FEMA grant to fund the construction of a flood diversion canal in Livingston Parish.

 “The 2016 floods devastated communities in Livingston Parish. I’m glad to see this funding support a flood-control project needed to help protect southeast Louisiana residents from future disasters,” said Kennedy.

 The grant will help build a canal to divert runoff throughout the upper reaches of Beaver Creek in Livingston parish. Expected to be completed by November 2022, the canal would divert roughly one third of the natural Beaver Creek flow into the Amite River during a 100-year flood event.

“I am glad to see the Treasury focus on helping Americans obtain their hard-earned money so they can invest it in their future and their families. There’s more work to do, but the Treasury is making great progress.”

 WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today provided an update on efforts made by the Treasury Department to help Americans redeem $26 billion in unclaimed savings bonds.

“I am glad to see the Treasury focus on helping Americans obtain their hard-earned money so they can invest it in their future and their families. There’s more work to do, but the Treasury is making great progress,” said Kennedy.

The Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service in December conducted market research on how to improve methods and technologies that help digitize matured, unredeemed savings bonds. This research focused on how to make old bonds searchable for 21st-century users. The Fiscal Service also hosted a Retail Securities Services Industry Day to explore technologies that digitize these bonds. 

This December, the Fiscal Service relaunched Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to find information such as whether bonds are no longer earning interest or are owned by deceased family members. According to Fiscal Service, Treasury Hunt has been searched more than 31,000 times.

As chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Kennedy last year secured $25 million through appropriations for digitizing bond records. Kennedy also introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act (USB Act) to allow states to add names and addresses for the bonds to their unclaimed property databases.