The United States government asked financial institutions to filter private customer purchases using terms including "MAGA" and "Trump" as part of a January 6 investigation.
Investigators with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network asked banks to flag purchases from Dick's Sporting Goods, Cabela's, and Bass Pro Shops.
Perhaps most shockingly, the federal investigators also asked for a warning of purchases of "religious texts," including the Bible, that "could indicate extremism," according to a letter to the former director of the FinCEN, Noah Bishoff, from the House Judiciary Committee and its subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan posted the letter on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, writing, "We now know the federal government flagged terms like 'MAGA' and 'TRUMP,' to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms." We now know the federal government flagged terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP,” to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms.
What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop. pic.twitter.com/jjRaVNItWz
We now know the federal government flagged terms like “MAGA” and “TRUMP,” to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms.
Rep. Jordan added, "What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop."
According to a report from Fox News, Jordan told them "the documents obtained by the committee indicate that after Jan. 6, 2021, the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, distributed materials to financial institutions that outlined 'typologies' of 'various persons of interest' and provided the banks with 'suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.'"
The government asked banks to use these terms, which targeted conservatives, 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,’" Jordan wrote in the letter.
"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 continued.
The letter asks Bishoff to appear before the committee by January 31 because he may "possess information necessary for our oversight."
According to the Fox report, "Jordan said the committees obtained documents that show FBI personnel, including Sullivan, 'made contact with and provided Bank of America with specific search query terms, indicating that it was ‘interested in all financial relationships’ of BoA customers transacting in Washington D.C. and customers who had made ‘ANY historical purchase’ of a firearm, or who had purchased a hotel, Airbnb, or airline travel within a given date range.'"