STATE HOUSE–The Indiana legislature may have a way to punish Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. State Rep. Ryan Dvorak, a Democrat from South Bend, introduced two amendments to a House bill that would help stop Russia from being able to launder money in the state, and keep the state from investing in Russian banks.
The latter amendment was ruled out of order. Devorak said he hopes the General Assembly will take it up next session.
LISTEN: Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) talks Indiana’s part in stopping Russia
“I think it’s important right now to be as strong as we can with Putin’s government, to bring as much financial pressure to bear,” said Dvorak, in a Thursday interview.
The amendment that’s still alive and that was passed unanimously by the House, would keep businesses associated with the Russian Federation from purchasing real estate in Indiana. It would be a one-year moratorium.
“Baldimir Putin has become the person who dolls out sectors of industry to favorite billionaires. They launder that money through overseas asset purchases,” said Dvorak.
He said that while many of those purchases in the U.S. are in New York and Florida, Indiana can help send a message to other states.
“I thought it was important that we show as the State of Indiana, we could hopefully set the stage for other states to put a moratorium in place to start denying a safe haven for this bloody Russian money,” said Dvorak. “As far as I know this is the first time that any state has passed any moratorium on Russian purchases of real property.”
Dvorak said he has been following the situation since the invasion of Crimea in 2014. He said since then, it’s become a political situation, but he now believes there’s more bi-partisan support for stopping Russia.
He said the amendment is a way for Indiana to support the federal sanctions that have been put in place.
“We don’t have our own stockpiles of military equipment to send. But, we can join that fight in cracking down on this laundering of money that provides really the entire base of support for the Russian government.”
The amendment is part of House Bill 388, which deals with foreign gifts and ownership of agricultural land.
Dvorak said for him the goal is seeing a free Russia.