Federal Investigators Demanded Banks Search Private Transactions for Words Like ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump’

On Wednesday, the Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee revealed even more drastic examples of government surveillance and breaches of privacy in the aftermath of the protest on January 6th, including the searching of Americans’ private bank transactions.

According to Fox News, the Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government described their latest findings in a letter obtained by Fox. The letter states that investigators ordered banks to search through their customers’ private transactions for key terms such as “MAGA” and “Trump,” while also claiming that the purchasing of “religious texts” were a sign of “extremism.”

The federal government also demanded that banks search for transactions involving conservative-leaning businesses, including Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

In the aftermath of January 6th, the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) sent materials to the banks that described “typologies” of “various persons of interest,” while also giving the banks “suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.”

“According to this analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of ‘extremism’ indicators that include ‘transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose,’ or ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,’” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in a letter to Noah Bishoff, former director of FinCEN.

“In other words,” Jordan continued, “FinCEN used large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”

The committee denounced the government’s “receipt of information about American citizens without legal process and its engagement with the private sector.” It had previously been revealed that the FBI demanded that all major American banks tell them about any and all purchases made in the D.C. area on January 6th, even if the customers making the purchases were not at the protest at the Capitol.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: US Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, speaks to reporters as he arrives for a Republicans caucus meeting at the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 13, 2023. Steve Scalise, the Republican nominee to lead the US House of Representatives, dropped out October 12, 2023 after failing to find enough support to win a vote of the full chamber, plunging the paralyzed lower chamber of Congress deeper into crisis. (Photo by Julia Nikhinson / AFP) (Photo by JULIA NIKHINSON/AFP via Getty Images)