BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA, is pushing legislation that would make it easier to return unclaimed federal savings bonds to investors.
The U.S. Department of Treasury is watching over $26 billion in savings bonds, some issued during the second World War. Louisiana residents have roughly $337 million invested in the bonds that are waiting to be claimed.
“The U.S. Department of Treasury is not doing a dad-gum thing to try to get this money back to people and it’s unconscionable,” Kennedy said. "They ought to hide their heads in a bag.”
The measure would force the U.S. Department of the Treasury to digitize and turn over names and addresses for each person with an unclaimed bond to state treasury departments. Kennedy included the language in the treasury budget, which he authors.
It’s unclear if the bill will pass full congress with the language included, or if the treasury department will comply with the directive. Kennedy met with Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss the issue Friday (Sept. 20).
The treasury department pushed back on the directive in committee, telling Kennedy it would cost $128 million to collect the documents and digitize the records.
“If you believe that, you still believe in bigfoot,” Kennedy said. "They know it won’t cost that much money.”
Kennedy earmarked $25 million for the project, instead.
“I put a directive in there to them: Give the money back," he said. "They opened a big ol’ bottle of wine and said, ‘Oh we don’t have the money to organize the records. It’ll take $128 million dollars.’ I said, ‘When donkeys fly. I was born at night, but not last night.’”
Kennedy says the unclaimed savings bond data could be incorporated into states’ existing unclaimed property databases, where users can already search to see if they’re owed deposits, royalties, or even tax returns.