Feds Used ‘Secret Portal’ To Tell Financial Institutions To Flag Customers’ Purchases Involving ‘MAGA,’ ‘Trump’

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Federal law enforcement operated a “portal” where it shared guidance instructing financial institutions to identify “domestic violent extremists,” which included searching for customer transactions including keywords like “MAGA” and “Trump,” as well as purchases for items like “religious texts,” according to a new House committee report.

Documents obtained by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government revealed law enforcement “treated lawful transactions as suspicious and shared information with financial institutions through backdoor channels, often circulating materials exhibiting a clear animus towards conservative viewpoints,” according to the report. Through a web portal run after Jan. 6 by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), a public-private partnership headed by the DHS and FBI, federal law enforcement shared materials offering guidance on identifying “extremists” with over 650 member companies, the report details.

One such intelligence product, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Likely Emboldened in Aftermath of Capitol Breach,” put financial institutions on alert about Americans who “expressed opposition to firearm regulations, open borders, COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and the ‘deep state.'” (RELATED: Emails Show How Biden Officials Considered Covering Up Censorship Activities In The Wake Of DCNF Report)

“Federal law enforcement used this report and materials like it to commandeer financial institutions’ databases and ask the financial institutions to conduct sweeping searches of individuals not suspected of committing any crimes,” the committee report explains.

The report also includes emails FBI officials sent directly to Bank of America with specific search requests. One request, sent on January 15, 2021, asks for any customer who made transactions in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 5-6 that had any “historical purchase” of a firearm or who purchased a hotel or Airbnb within a range of dates that month.

“This massive search request, sent directly from the FBI to BoA, appears to have occurred via direct email, without any legal process or individualized criminal nexus,” the report notes. “As a result, a ‘filing’ was created that was seemingly a “data dump” of BoA account information—reflecting potentially thousands of customers—that was turned over to the FBI.”

Similarly, federal law enforcement organized zoom discussions with institutions that included U.S. Bank, Paypal, Wells Fargo, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and more as part of investigations into Jan. 6, according to the report.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also circulated materials instructing institutions on how to use Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) to identify extremists, targeting transactions at places like “Bass Pro Shop” or “Dick’s Sporting Goods.”

“Never forget: the federal government got this information without any process,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan said during a hearing on the report Thursday. “No warrant, and frankly, no notification. The bank didn’t tell the customer that, hey, we’re handing this information over to the FBI, the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world.”

“Big government shouldn’t be working with big banks to target Americans for behavior that is legal and constitutional,” he said.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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