Feds Searched American Gun Purchases, Bibles, MAGA, New Report Shows
The Treasury Department, acting on behalf of federal law enforcement post-January 6, 2021, allegedly requested banks to scrutinize customers' transactions for signs of "extremism," including purchases related to "small arms" or from specific gun retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) disclosed these confidential requests in a letter addressed to Noah Bishoff, the former Director of the Treasury Department’s office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Feds Asked Banks to Search Americans’ Records for 'Bible' Purchases, Gun Retailers, Words Like ‘Trump’ and ‘MAGA’ pic.twitter.com/Y622pF1iPf
— Faith and Freedom (@FaithFreedomNet) January 19, 2024
Jordan expressed concerns about the widespread financial surveillance, conducted in coordination with federal law enforcement, and its potential impact on civil liberties.
The revelation emerged as part of oversight efforts by the Judiciary Committee and Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government regarding federal law enforcement's receipt of information about American citizens without proper legal processes.
Jordan's letter stated that documents obtained by the Committee and Subcommittee indicated FinCEN's distribution of materials to banks outlining "Typologies" of "various persons of interest" and suggesting search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.
The materials allegedly recommended the use of generic terms like "TRUMP" and "MAGA" to search Zelle payment messages and included a "prior FinCEN analysis" of "Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators."
Jordan expressed concern that FinCEN urged financial institutions to scrutinize customers' private transactions based on protected political and religious expressions, raising questions about respect for civil liberties.
According to Jordan, FinCEN also distributed slides prepared by one bank, guiding others on using MCCs to identify customers whose transactions might reflect "potential active shooters" or "dangerous International Terrorists / Domestic Terrorists / Homegrown Violent Extremists ('Lone Wolves')."
The slides reportedly instructed banks to look for transactions using specific MCC codes such as "3484: Small Arms," "5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies," and keywords like "Cabela’s" and "Dick’s Sporting Goods."
Jordan criticized FinCEN for characterizing Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights as potential threat actors, pointing out that these transactions had no apparent criminal nexus.
In an interview with Fox News, Jordan referred to it as "financial surveillance" and expressed concerns about collaboration between big government, big banks, big corporations and the potential spying on Americans.