Louisiana’s state treasurer is responding to a lawsuit filed against the state’s Bond Commission.
The suit was filed last Wednesday (June 19th) in Baton Rouge following a months long dust-up between the Commission and two banking giants over guns.
In August of last year the Commission voted 7 to 6 to block Bank of America and Citigroup from financing infrastructure projects, including the I-10 widening project, because those banks don’t do business with some gun makers.
“To be as frank as I can be I don’t need Wall Street banks coming to Louisiana playing the policy police,” said Treasurer John Schroder who serves as chairman on the Commission.
After the Parkland Florida school shooting on February 14th, 2018, Bank of America officials publicly stated they will no longer work with clients that manufacture military style weapons for non-military or non-law enforcement use. Citigroup officials also vowed to not do business with clients who sell firearms to places that sell high-capacity magazines, places that sell firearms without a background check and places that sell guns to people under the age of 21.
That move immediately drew the ire of many Louisiana lawmakers including U.S. Senator John Kennedy.
“Bank of America and Citigroup have said basically we are smarter than the American people and we don’t think you ought to be able to exercise your right under the Second Amendment. That’s fine. Under the First Amendment, they have the right to believe that, but we in Louisiana have the right to say okay, we’re not going to do business with you,” said Kennedy in August of 2018.
The lawsuit reportedly argues the Bond Commission exceeded it’s authority, and the decision to bar the banks was purely political.
“I did not bring the issue, the issue was brought to Louisiana,” argues Schroder.
Other lawmakers have said the Bond Commission’s decision could have cost taxpayers more money as Citigroup and Bank of America may have charged a lower interest rate.
“We were able to negotiate an outstanding deal for Louisiana when you compare with what other states did,” said Schroder.
A voice mail was left with the attorney who filed the lawsuit, David LaCerte, and as of the posting of this article our call has not been returned.