top of page

FinCEN Accused of Encouraging Banks to Monitor Customers' Transactions Using Political Keywords

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the financial intelligence unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, is facing accusations of urging banks to scrutinize the private transactions of customers by employing politically charged terms such as "MAGA" (Make America Great Again) and "Trump." The allegations stem from events that transpired on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) raised the accusations in a letter addressed to former FinCEN director Noah Bishoff. In the letter, Jordan asserted that FinCEN's actions amounted to "pervasive financial surveillance" conducted at the behest of law enforcement, raising concerns about the

Treasury's commitment to upholding fundamental civil liberties.

The letter comes amid ongoing oversight efforts by the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, also chaired by Mr. Jordan. These committees are investigating the receipt of information about U.S. citizens by federal law enforcement without legal process, particularly when obtained through private sector entities such as banks.

Mr. Jordan stated in the letter that the committees have obtained documents indicating that FinCEN distributed materials to banks on behalf of law enforcement. These materials reportedly outlined "typologies" of persons of interest in the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol breach. The typologies were designed to help banks identify transactions linked to individuals or groups associated with the incident.

The materials allegedly provided by FinCEN aimed to assist banks in monitoring and reporting transactions on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The use of political keywords like "MAGA" and "Trump" raises concerns about the potential impact on citizens' privacy rights and the broader implications of financial surveillance.

Critics argue that such practices may lead to unwarranted scrutiny of individuals based on their political beliefs, potentially undermining civil liberties. The accusations against FinCEN have ignited a debate over the balance between national security interests and the protection of individual privacy rights.

As the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government continue their oversight, the FinCEN controversy adds another layer to the ongoing discussions about the appropriate boundaries and safeguards in the realm of financial intelligence and surveillance. The Treasury Department has yet to officially respond to the accusations, and further developments are awaited as the investigation unfolds.


Top Stories

bottom of page