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Senate GOP to Treasury: Why Urge Banks to ‘Surveil Customer’ Transactions ‘Using Politically Charged Search Terms?’

Senate GOP to Treasury: Why Urge Banks to ‘Surveil Customer’ Transactions ‘Using Politically Charged Search Terms?’

“…the agency suggested in January 2021 that banks use specific search terms to query transactions, including ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump,’ ‘Biden,’ and more, along with merchant codes from specific sporting goods stores.”

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Scott wants the Treasury Department to explain why it encouraged banks to surveil customers who used “politically charged search terms” in their transactions:

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., penned a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and FinCEN [Treasury’s financial crimes enforcement division] Director Andrea Gacki on Friday after Fox News Digital exclusively reported that the agency suggested in January 2021 that banks use specific search terms to query transactions, including “MAGA,” “Trump,” “Biden,” and more, along with merchant codes from specific sporting goods stores.

“I write regarding recent reporting that the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) through its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) urged private financial institutions to surveil customers’ transaction-level data using politically charged search terms, in order to flag certain customer profiles on behalf of Federal law enforcement,” Scott wrote in the letter, obtained by Fox News Digital. “These allegations, if true, represent a flagrant violation of Americans’ privacy and the improper targeting of U.S. citizens for exercising their constitutional rights without due process.”

Fox News obtained documents from the House Judiciary Committee showing how the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) gave banks and financial institutions materials spelling out who to surveil and what political terms to flag in transactions.

It all started after January 6, 2021.

What happened on January 6? The Capitol Hill Riot.

The materials also told the banks and financial institutions to look out for purchases of religious texts and subscriptions to anything that contains “extremist views.”

It’s scary:

The 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.”

“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,’” [Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim] Jordan detailed in a letter to the former director of FinCEN, Noah Bishoff, a career employee.

“In other words, 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,” Jordan wrote.

The treasury provided MCC codes (merchant category codes) to investigate the transactions. Those included “3484: Small Arms” and “5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies.”

The keywords? Those included Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops.

What do those stores sell?


Scott is furious:

“These allegations are particularly concerning given past efforts to weaponize the financial system and payment activity against politically disfavored, lawful activity,” Scott wrote. “Under the Obama administration’s ‘Operation Choke Point’ initiative, the Department of Justice (DOJ) coordinated with federal financial regulators to intimidate financial institutions into denying services to legitimate businesses that the administration was ideologically opposed to, including gun retailers.”

Scott said that “the weaponization and misuse of MCC codes is not a new issue either,” saying members of Congress have recently raised concerns about the potential to “surveil the free exercise of lawful activity using an MCC code—the same concern is at issue here.”

“Federal government efforts to target individuals and entities based on their political views is a blatant and egregious violation of our Constitution,” Scott wrote. “Additionally, reported actions like these disrupt confidence in federal law enforcement and raise significant questions regarding the independence of federal financial regulators.”


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Finally- we are up to the stage were we write a stern letter!

    Concise in reply to Oracle. | January 19, 2024 at 2:12 pm

    Whoa there! Slow down. Let’s not let things get out of hand. Before you know it we’ll be at the follow up letter stage and where will that lead? Questions at irrelevant sub-committee hearing stage? Does anyone really want such irresponsible and dangerous escalation?

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Oracle. | January 19, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    Sent Certified Mail with a signature required and a return receipt request!

    ChrisPeters in reply to Oracle. | January 19, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    The Senate probably sent a follow-up apology letter as well, but that is being hidden from the media.

    Dare we hope for a very sternly worded letter?

    ghost dog in reply to Oracle. | January 19, 2024 at 4:21 pm

    The letter better have the terms Trump, MAGA, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops or no one will see it.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to ghost dog. | January 19, 2024 at 5:22 pm

      Not DICK’s. They turned all snively and weepy over firearms. Buying at DICK’s might actually increase your Social Credit score.

        That doesn’t save their a*ses.

        ‘As for the [videogame] “violence rating system”… the president thanked the industry for adopting such a system voluntarily, as had been requested by him and the first lady. Their reward for complying voluntarily? The government will now impose on them a better, federal system. See how it pays to cooperate?’

    LeftWingLock in reply to Oracle. | January 19, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    You are 100% correct. This type of action by Treasury calls for a letter with a lot of exclamation points!


“All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” – Benito Mussolini

That’s why!

Are the planning a pre-crime bureau?
The only reason a bank should be monitoring my transactions is so they can tell me if someone is suddenly using my money in a place or way that makes them believe it is not me doing it.

    henrybowman in reply to Martin. | January 19, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    And given how badly they do that when they try to, my vote is for them to entirely stop trying.

    I mean, how common is it for an identity thief to use his stolen credit card to obtain… a shingles vaccination at a local CVS?

    It got to the point where I had to ask my bank why I should continue to carry their credit card when it misfired every time I actually tried to use it.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to henrybowman. | January 19, 2024 at 5:24 pm

      Let me guess: Wells Fargo? Bank of America?

        You’d be surprised how many local, regional, and especially, of course, military federal credit unions are on board with all of this. It’s not just Capitol One, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Small banks are ‘voluntarily’ complying with the supposedly rescinded Biden $600 transaction oversight. If by “voluntarily” we mean with pressure from the federal government, that is. This is not just big banks, quite the opposite, the small banks have more to lose and less recourse by not complying.

          Considering how heavily regulated banking is, the government can make life very uncomfortable for any bank that doesn’t want to play ball

Unless they’re going to do something like de-fund the Treasury or remove some of its authority or impeach some people, there’s no point in asking questions.

And you know they’re not.

And, Martin nails it – it’s not their business (nor Treasury’s) what I spend my money on.

MoeHowardwasright | January 19, 2024 at 1:51 pm

Mr Jordan you’ll ask questions and the witnesses will tell you anything but the real answer. You’ll raise your voice and wag a finger at them. In the end you will. It get a straight answer and go home have a cocktail and tell everyone how you stood up the deep state. SMH! Hold them accountable. Oh that’s right you forfeited that right with a CR to fund the government. FJB

    In addition to what you’ve said, I’ll add that the House GOP passed a continuation of some of the worst provisions of the Patriot Act that allows for this kind of stuff to happen.

    If only Jordan worked some place that could actually enact legislation that CRIMINALIZED the sharing or procuring of this kind of data without a court order. I guess that place doesn’t exist.

Of course, neither Treasury nor the banks would ever dream of searching customers’ records using any phrases associated with the vile and lawless Dhimmi-crats, such as references to the “Black Lives Matter and “Anti-fa” terrorist groups. Just as the IRS under narcissist-incompetent-dunce, Obama, would never dream of slow-walking the non-profit exemption applications of any Leftist/Dhimmi-crat-associated group or entity.

It’s always conservatives, exclusively,. who perennially bear the cost of the Dhimmi-crats’ totalitarian abuse, intimidation and lawlessness.

Beyond the raw, bullying exercise of power, which Dhimmi-crats love exerting in all facets and spheres of American society, I think what’s also at work, here, is the Dhimmi-crats’ transparent efforts to vilify conservatives and Trump-supporters, by parroting/echoing demagogue Biden’s narrative alleging that conservatives and “MAGA” are enemies of the State.

So, having banks do utterly illegal and lawless searching along political lines perpetuates the narrative that those conservatives are some very scary extremists, who must be kept an eye on.

I wonder if the word “Koran” was on the list? I doubt it.

    guyjones in reply to alaskabob. | January 19, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    Or, “intifada,” “mujahideen;” “From the River to the Sea;” “jihad;” “Allahu akbar;” “Zionist entity;” “Zionist occupier;” etc.

    No, of course Muslim supremacists and terrorism supporters would never come under much-deserved scrutiny from a Dhimmi-crat Administration, not when conservatives and Trump-supporters can stand in for them, as scapegoats.

Are they going to surveil fat fani willis transactions??

Follow the money.

At what age should a child be exposed to the Koran? Or should it be considered adult only material?

Our identities stolen, followed by money and land. It appears to me that the banks help identity thievery by urging wireless cards that can be read and stolen regardless of what you are told.
Our identities get stolen via social media, our borders are porous and vagrancy is off the charts.
I can’t help but feel that some serious treason is occurring. I fully expect martial law by October.

“It all started after January 6, 2021.”

Well, certainly not all, as the article itself explains. It started long before that, with Operation Chokepoint. When it came to firearms transactions, our national megabanks were all happy and eager to be the government’s little kapo bitches, selling out their own customers for a pat on the head and a promise of no harassment by three-letter financial agencies to their all-important charters.

Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo all showed their true anti-rights colors with no room for debate. BOA actually volunteered to scan the accounts of J6 persons-of-interest for firearms transactions,.. long after Chokepoint had already been repudiated as improper and terminated.

Subsequent to that national disgrace, there was actually a small-ish bank founded by a few well-known conservative patriots (Ben Carson, Larry Elder, John Rich, and OK Governor Mary Fallin) on the explicit principle that:

We will never be a bank for criminals or support criminal activity. Just the opposite. We believe in the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, if a government official requests that we punish or cancel you for lawfully attending a protest, we will not comply. If there is a request to punish or cancel you for conducting lawful business, that request will be unlawful, and we will not comply. If other banks (and tech companies) want to stand with their elite friends in government and media to punish and cancel Americans for fossil fuels, the meat industry, firearms, or speaking truth to power, that’s on them. Old Glory Bank will never punish or cancel customers for their lawful activities. Instead, we stand with you.

I keep a set of accounts there. The market works.

    their all-important charters
    And this is where the problem comes in. Banks are basically beholden to the feds (as are credit unions, though under slightly less stringent rules), and hence, become a government agency. That, IMO, makes discrimination for any reason a violation of the Bill of Rights. Period.

    If they didn’t answer to the feds (except as criminal respondents or in answer to warrants) then there would be a lot more of them, and you could simply move your money somewhere else when they got uppity about your use of your money. But you can’t. So they need to be treated as gov’t agents.

    Also, I will check out that bank.

      henrybowman in reply to GWB. | January 20, 2024 at 10:33 pm

      This is one of the primary tactics government always uses to throttle your rights. Just look what they do to the Second Amendment by threatening FFLs.

Why would they bother asking questions that everybody knows the answer to. Because that’s what the pedophile in Chief wants

FinCen should be defunded, and the Treasury Department should have its operating budget slashed by 80%.

These “1984”-level surveillance efforts must be stopped completely – and right now – or they will only get worse. The citizens are being treated like slaves.

The better question, given the totality of the circumstances and wider context, is why Congress doesn’t simply pass a straightforward bill that clarifies that all consumer data, data about consumer purchases, data about consumer internet browsing and so on ALL belong to the consumer and no corporate entity may collect, sell, transfer, gift and so on any of the data. That any data in possession of a any entity may not be released without a specific warrant.

Sure that blows up the revenue model for the ‘free internet’ where corporations gather and sell your data, purchase history and so on. Tough cookies. They have repeatedly shown they will not protect consumer data or privacy.

nordic prince | January 19, 2024 at 8:26 pm

Anyone really surprised by this? Why do you think they want to “nudge” people into CBDCs?

They want to control you.

Government has no authority to know if, how, when, or where a person is exercising any of his rights (including the right to acquire property).

Government shouldn’t be allowed to collect any individually-identifiable personal information about anyone, from any third-party source, without a warrant. “Reasonable” laws be damned, they only give government a launching pad for further abuse, until the authority for that abuse is codified, then the cycle begins again.

    CommoChief in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 20, 2024 at 11:54 am

    Until legislation is passed to make it 100% clear that all consumer data belongs to the consumer and may not be gathered, brokered, sold or gifted this will continue.

    It will destroy the business model of some internet platforms. They can charge a subscription instead. If their product isn’t valuable enough for a sufficient number of subscribers to stay in business that’s ok. The free market will have rendered a decision v the ‘make believe’ free market we have now.