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The U.S. Department of the Treasury building decorated for the holidays. 2010 photo. Wiki Public Domain

Senator: Why did Treasury Dept. monitor purchase of bibles?

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reportedly instructed banks to monitor Americans’ online transactions involving the purchase of Bibles and Christian books. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, wants an explanation.

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Senator Tim Scott

Scott expressed concerns about potential privacy violations and the targeting of U.S. citizens in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chair of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, previously sent a letter saying the subcommittee obtained documents showing that FinCEN also monitored politial words, such as transactions connected with the words “MAGA” and “Trump.”  Those citizens flagged with these ‘typologies’ became persons of interest following the events of Jan. 6.

Jordan wrote that 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.'”

Scott emphasized that such actions, if true, would constitute a severe breach of privacy and improper targeting without due process. “These allegations are particularly concerning given past efforts to weaponize the financial system and payment activity against politically disfavored, lawful activity,” he wrote.

Sources told national news outlets that the search terms, including “MAGA” and “Trump,” were initially generated by a bank to identify suspicious transactions. FinCEN reportedly shared these terms with other banks for compliance with suspicious activity reports.

The revelations coincide with President Joe Biden’s first ad for his 2024 reelection campaign which labels all Trump supporters as “extremists.” The wording is similar to an FBI warning issued several years ago which targeted Catholics.

Scott has asked the Treasury Department to provide the requested information by February 2 as the investigation into these allegations continues.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice


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