NIAP Update - February 20th, 2015

A joint statement by Angela Shaw Kogutt (Stanford Victims Coalition) and Ron Stein (NIAP), and Co-Directors of the Investor Protection Alliance regarding Letter of Commitment and Support from Scott Garrett, Chairman and Carolyn Maloney

Dear Madoff, McGinn-Smith, and Stanford Investors,

As we approach the 6th anniversary of the Stanford and Madoff insolvencies (and 5th year of the McGinn-Smith), we want to provide you with an important update on the legislative relief we’ve jointly spearheaded in the House and the Senate since the Investor Protection Alliance kicked off in November 2013.

We are very pleased to share with you the letter of support from Congressmen Garrett and Maloney (Click here for letter), who will shortly be reintroducing The Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act in the House of Representatives. (A companion bill has already been reintroduced by Senator Vitter in the Senate.)

As many of you already know, despite considerable efforts by numerous Congressional members, we were unable to push The Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act (House Bill H.R.3482 and Senate Bill S. 1725) across the finish line in the last Congress, largely because of resistance of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). That said, we have each received personal commitments from the lead sponsors of the legislation in the House that lead us to believe the prospects for passage of newly introduced bills in early 2015 are much more favorable than in the previous Congressional session. We believe, therefore, that it is crucial for the victims of each of these frauds to stay involved in our joint grassroots efforts over these next few months.

The following recent developments are reasons to remain engaged:

• As the 113th Congressional Session came to a close, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ), who led the House bill along with the bipartisan support of the Subcommittee’s Ranking Minority Leader Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), approached the House of Representatives with a floor statement for the official Congressional Record expressing his unbridled intention to press forward with the legislation in the 114th Congress, which is strongly reiterated in the attached letter to the various victims’ groups.

• In the frenzy of the close of the 113th Session, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Chairman Scott Garrett made a powerful statement on the House floor, which a core group of key Congressional members representing thousands of Stanford victims, including House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX),, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Rep. Blaine Leuktemeyer (R-MO), and Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) made clear their intention of seeing this bill through to passage. Importantly, since the new session began, Congressman Garrett has worked feverishly to assemble a strong core group among the above who have agreed to work closely with him to help pass the bill. This unity is a marked change.

• We have strong reason to believe that unlike 2014, this bill will go to the House floor early in 2015 for a vote. Financial Services Committee hearings in early 2015 have been promised by Chairman Hensarling, and could begin as early as March. It is our belief and hope that things will move quickly thereafter and we have reason to believe that Mr. Hensarling will not present strong opposition or obstruction to the legislation either in the hearings or thereafter.

• With Republicans taking control of the Senate in 2015, our prospects for passage of the companion bill have improved substantially. Senate Banking Committee Member Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who led the Senate version of the bill (S. 1725) (cosponsored by NY Senator Schumer) has already reintroduced the bill. Sen. Vitter will be joined in this effort by newly elected Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who showed unwavering support as he led the House’s efforts on behalf of Stanford victims over the past almost 6 years. These committed leaders, along with the strong support of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), have given us renewed faith regarding the prospects of the Senate passing a legislative remedy in 2015. Efforts will now turn to re-energizing Senator Schumer and the Democrats to support the legislation as well.

We understand your patience has been tested and has worn thin, and that you rightfully ask, “What makes this time different?”

First, we have been advised by key Members that both the House and Senate are more likely to work far more collaboratively and efficiently in the 114th Session now that we no longer have a divided Congress. You also may not be aware of just how strongly support has been expressed for this legislation by key House and Senate members over the last few weeks of the 113th Session. Moving the bills came down to the wire, with Members on both sides working up until the last hour to find a creative way to move the bill by working around Chairman Hensarling’s insistence the House bill be delayed for a full House Financial Services Committee hearing in 2015.

After six long years of relationship-building in Washington, we truly believe we are close to achieving our goal. We each remain as committed as ever to this cause–if not more so after coming so close these last few weeks. These next few months will demand a tremendous amount of the energy of our team, however.

As both Stanford and Madoff victims have seen their legal opportunities increasingly whittled away, we need your support over the coming months to help push this legislation over the finish line.

The leaders of both of our organizations, as well as the lobby firms working on a largely pro-bono basis on our behalf would not remain committed if we did not feel we had a significant prospect of crossing the finish line. We feel quite strongly that we must remain united in our efforts to see these bills finally signed into law in the upcoming months. We also know that we cannot achieve success in this endeavor without your continued participation to engage your Congressional leaders to “fix SIPC,” and we look forward to continuing the teamwork it has taken to get us this far.

Our best wishes for a successful 2015!

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