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State treasurer wants unclaimed U.S. savings bonds to come back to Illinois

By GREG BISHOP, The Center Square

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs is calling on President Donald Trump to support a measure to surrender $26 billion unclaimed U.S. savings bonds back to the states so the states can get the money to the rightful owners.

Frerichs said $1 billion of that could come back to Illinois.

Legislation in the U.S. House co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago, would close what Frerichs calls a loophole.

“The federal government knows who purchased U.S. savings bonds when the bond was purchased,” Frerichs said. “They know the identity of the beneficiary. Most importantly [they know] when that bond stopped earning interest and yet the federal treasury sits on that pile of money … instead of returning it to the rightful owners.”

Davis joined Frerichs in Chicago on Monday and said they want to make this money available to the people that it’s owed.

“I know I don’t have any, but who knows, somebody in my family may have purchased a bond in the 1930s, or the 1940s, and that money should be put into the hands of people that it belongs to,” Davis said. “They then could make great use of it.”

Davis teamed up with U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, on the measure titled the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2019.

“The Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2019 will ensure states are able to access Treasury records and return matured, unclaimed savings bonds to their legal owners,” Estes said in a separate statement. “As Kansas state treasurer, I helped Kansas become one of the first states to pursue legal action to obtain unclaimed bonds and return them to their owners. I’m proud to introduce this legislative fix to address this issue across the country.”

Frerichs said the bonds were essentially loans the people would give the federal government.

“They know they’re sitting on billions of dollars that belong to U.S. citizens and we would like to aid them, we’d like to help them in returning it to their rightful owners,” Frerichs said. “We don’t have to create a new bureaucracy, we don’t have to hire new people to do this. We are already set up with employees to do it.”

“The federal government has the ability to pay these individuals and has simply chosen not to do so,” Frerichs said. “We’re calling on President Trump because we find that is the only real way to get movement through the [U.S.] Senate.”

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