TOPEKA – (May 8, 2020) – The Kansas state treasurer’s longstanding efforts to assume title to abandoned U.S. savings bonds originally registered to Kansans in order to return the proceeds to the rightful owners should succeed under federal and state law, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has told the U.S. Supreme Court.
The attorney general today filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower federal court’s ruling that Kansas lacks authority to treat the abandoned bonds as unclaimed property to be returned to its owners. A Kansas state court entered judgment transferring title of the bonds to the State of Kansas, but the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the state court’s judgment is preempted by federal law. Because the Federal Circuit’s decision conflicts with the rulings of two different federal courts of appeals, Kansas is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the dispute.
“Kansans deserve to receive the proceeds from abandoned savings bonds to which they are entitled,” said Schmidt, whose office handles all U.S. Supreme Court litigation for Kansas. “I commend Treasurer LaTurner on his dedication to this project, and the attorney general’s office is pleased to help make this case on behalf of Kansans before the nation’s highest court.”
It is estimated that there are $26 billion in matured unclaimed bonds nationwide with more than $200 million belonging to Kansans.
"The U.S. Treasury has held on to this money long enough,” LaTurner said. “After the many years our office has spent appealing this case, it is time for the Supreme Court to step in and help us get this money returned to the dedicated American citizens who invested in their country years ago during its time of need. The Kansas State Treasurer's office already has the systems in place to begin matching up these bonds with their rightful owners so we can start giving these long lost dollars back to Kansans. This will be a great help to so many in our state who are trying to provide for themselves and their families during these uncertain times."
The process to reclaim these funds on behalf of Kansans was started in 2013 by then-Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes and was continued on by current State Treasurer Jake LaTurner who took the fight to the Federal Circuit in early 2019.
The case is LaTurner v. United States. A copy of the brief filed today is available at https://bit.ly/2yvwsG1.