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Rubio: FBI, Federal Govt. Must Ensure Orlando Attack Victims & Impacted Businesses Get Assistance

Jul 19, 2016 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C.  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met owners of several family-owned local businesses that endured significant hardship as a result of the terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub. In a media availability following the meeting, Rubio reiterated the priority of overcoming federal bureaucratic hurdles standing in the way of disbursing assistance to victims and their families, but also the businesses who have indirectly been impacted by the event. 
“I would argue that people in the business community, as a secondary step, are also victims in the terms of the business losses from the closure,” Rubio said. “But obviously the first priority would be to ensure that all the families and people directly impacted by the shooting would fully be able to receive the assistance they need from the fund. I agree with that.”
“[O]ne of the impacts of the pulse shooting has been the impact on the neighboring communities, the business that have lost,” Rubio continued. “You know, the streets were closed, as everyone knows, for a significant number of days, including fencing, and it had a dramatic impact. So it has been a tough time for them. And finding assistance for them beyond just loans from the SBA, because that’s debt, and they don’t want to be taking on debts. So, one of the things we’re working on now is ensuring that we can improve that process for small businesses who have been impacted.”
A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
Senator Marco Rubio: “Well right now you’re going to have to do it legislatively, because right now we have a road block that has to do with the systems and being able to coordinate between the FBI and local assistance agency because some of the victims have filled out these forms that have an FBI logo on them so now the FBI says they cannot share their information because the privacy concerns.”

“Yeah that’s something we’ll have to examine. Obviously I have been already to the FBI funds and that process has gotten complicated, as well, because of the FBI form. Now that the FBI’s logo is on the form-that information, they won’t share it. They’re saying that it’s a confidentiality issue.
“So my office, for 38 days, has had somebody embedded in the assistance office. And I’m going to call Director Comey here in the next day or two and see if we can’t work through that privacy issue, because we now have these FBI forms and all that information from victims that they won’t share with the assistance office under privacy concerns by the federal government. So that’s one of the things that we’re going to be talking about.”

“So in essence, there are some people out there that have applied for aid that the FBI knows about but the local agency doesn’t.  My staff has been in that office for the past month helping to work through that. On the daily basis we embedded an employee in the office. I’m going to call Director Comey, there has got to be a way to work through that so they can share information without violating any privacy concerns that might exist. 
“And that’s one thing I think we can do without passing a law. I think beyond it we want to make sure that the victims’ funds are available through the FBI restitution fund and others are made easier to access. This is one of those impediments. 
“And the third is to talk to these folks, Mr. Feinberg, who is running the victims’ assistance fund to ensure that whatever impediments they might be facing by federal law, whatever it may be, that were addressing those. A lot of them can be addressed without even passing a law by getting change in practice like the FBI situations.”