UNCLAIMED U.S. SAVINGS BONDS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 146
(Senate - September 12, 2019)

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[Pages S5462-S5463]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      UNCLAIMED U.S. SAVINGS BONDS

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I am not going to speak for 10 minutes, 
but I do want to call attention to an example of breathtaking 
hypocrisy, and I am not proud of it.
  We all understand in a social contract that the price of living in an 
organized society is giving up some of our hard-earned money. That is 
why we pay taxes. Nobody likes paying taxes, but we understand that 
taxes are necessary to pay our teachers, build our roads, defend our 
country, and help those who are less fortunate than us.
  We set up a pretty good apparatus to go after you if you don't pay 
your taxes. If you don't pay your taxes, or you don't pay them in the 
right amount, or you don't pay them on time, they have people trained 
in the IRS--I am not criticizing. They are just doing their job, but 
they will chase you like a hound from Hades. So you

[[Page S5463]]

pay. That is the law, and we are all supposed to abide by it, but what 
happens when the Department in which the IRS is centered will not 
follow the same rules? I am talking about the Department of Treasury. 
The IRS is under the Department of Treasury. Now, what is good for the 
goose is supposed to be good for the gander.
  The U.S. Department of Treasury is sitting on $26 billion--not 
million, billion. That is nine zeros of matured, unclaimed savings 
bonds that belong to the people of this country. They have the names, 
and they have the addresses. Do you know what they are doing to try to 
contact these Americans? Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. They just sit 
there holding on to the money.
  We know what a savings bond is. We couldn't have won World War II 
without savings bonds. A lot of Americans took their hard-earned money, 
and they bought savings bonds. You know how it works. I am just making 
these numbers up, but you buy a savings bond. You give the Federal 
Government 100 bucks. You don't get anything every month. You give up 
100 bucks, and in 20 years you go back and redeem your bond and it is 
now worth $200. In the meantime, the Federal Government gets this loan 
to use your money. When that 20 years is up, the bond matures. It 
doesn't pay interest anymore.
  Some people lose their bonds. Some people forget about their bonds. 
Some people pass on, and their kids inherit their bonds. They are lost, 
but you can always count on the Department of Treasury to keep a list 
of who owns bonds and which ones have been redeemed and which ones 
haven't. The U.S. Department of Treasury has that list, and there are 
millions of Americans whose names are on that list. They have names and 
addresses, and they don't do anything to give it back. They just stand 
there sucking on the teat.
  Let me give you some examples. We are talking real money. I will just 
pick a couple out: New Jersey, $695 million belongs to the people of 
New Jersey--not the politicians in New Jersey, not the government, the 
people--that the Treasury is holding.
  Let me see if I can find--Washington State, $560 million belongs to 
the people of Washington State--not the big dogs, not the mayors, not 
the politicians, the real people who get up every day and go to work 
and pay their taxes. For Hawaii, they have $113 million. In my State, 
Louisiana, there is $337 million. There is $3 billion belonging to 
people in California.
  We are going to get up in the morning, and the IRS--they are just 
doing their job. You better pay your taxes. They will take your 
firstborn. But when they have $26 billion of the American people's 
money, you can't find them with a search party. It is not right. It is 
not right.
  I sued them when I was State treasurer, and I got a bunch of other 
State treasurers to sue them too. I don't like suing people, but the 
Department of the Treasury has spent tens of billions of dollars 
fighting the American people. They just don't want to give the money 
back--and you wonder why people hate the government.
  I have a bill to try to do something about it. It is not personal. I 
think the world of our Treasury Secretary. I would think a whole lot 
better of him if he would start writing checks to the American people. 
I am not going to give up on this issue. All we are asking is that the 
Treasury Department share the names with the States. Every State has an 
unclaimed property program. They have a great one in Washington, a 
great one in Hawaii. Usually it is a State treasurer. They know to give 
money back to people. They don't charge a fee. Right is right, and this 
is wrong. The Department of Treasury needs to give the money back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.