A U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee recently questioned a former official in the U.S. Treasury’s financial crimes enforcement office on recent allegations that have drawn concern from conservatives. According to recent reports, the government agency allegedly pushed financial institutions to flag customer transactions associated with phrases such as “MAGA” and “Trump.” Furthermore, it is reported that the purchase of specific religious texts could have also been encouraged to be flagged.
Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Rep. Jim Jordan, recently issued a letter to the former director of an office in the Treasury’s Strategic Operations Division of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Noah Bishoff, pressing him on the agency’s actions.
Rep. Jordan alleged that following the Capitol protests of January 6, 2021, FinCEN “distributed materials to financial institutions that, among other things, outline the ‘typologies’ of various persons of interest.” He alleges the agency also “provided financial institutions with suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.”
Rep. Jordan’s letter suggested that the federal government was targeting the private consumer transactions of Trump-supporting Americans, where they could be flagged as extremists. “These materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like ‘TRUMP’ and ‘MAGA’ to ‘search Zelle payment messages’ as well as a ‘prior FinCEN analysis’ of ‘Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators,'” Jordan’s letter stated.
“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 to areas with no apparent purpose,’ or ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.'” Jordan continued, asserting that “FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”
“We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,” Jordan posted on X. “What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.”
Many conservative Americans feel that the federal government has been weaponized against them, as demonstrated by Rep. Jordan’s inquiry into FinCEN’s alleged flagging of “extremism.” Adding fuel to this fire, Joe Biden released an ad for his 2024 campaign painting Trump supporters as extremists and a threat to Democracy.
“There’s something dangerous happening in America,” Biden said in a voiceover. “There’s an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy. All of us are being asked right now, what will we do to maintain our democracy?” Watch that ad here:
Rep. Jim Jordan has championed a number of conservative causes in the House of Representatives. The American Tribune recently reported on Jordan launching an investigation into the alleged corruption of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The investigation centers around Willis’ accepting of nearly $15 million from the Biden administration over the past several years, suggesting she used federal funding to finance her prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
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