Chairman Jim Jordan of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has issued a subpoena to Bank of America.
The subpoena comes after a series of communications between the congressional committee and the financial institution. The committee has been pressing for transparency regarding Bank of America’s data-sharing practices.
On Thursday, Jordan sent a stern warning letter to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, outlining the committee’s concerns and expressing dissatisfaction with the bank’s insufficient response.
Documents from 2021 indicate that Bank of America voluntarily supplied the FBI with information about individuals who conducted transactions in the Washington, D.C., area from January 5-7, 2021. This occurred without any legal requirement, leading the committee to investigate whether the bank worked with the FBI to gather data on American citizens beyond legal limits.
Back in 2021, it was reported that Bank of America searched through customers’ data and transaction records and provided these data to the FBI following the Capitol riot.
The nation’s second-largest bank provided data and information to the federal government at the request of the US government, without the knowledge or consent of the customers.
Bank of America scanned customer records to identify the following:
- Were they in DC between January 5 and January 6;
- Purchased a hotel stay or AirBnB in DC, Virginia, or Maryland after January 6;
- Airline-related purchases since January 6;
- Any purchase of weapons between January 7 and their upcoming suspected stay in the DC area around Inauguration Day.
Bank of America’s response to the committee asserted that its actions were in line with a legal process initiated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
However, the committee argues that the FBI, not the Treasury, initiated the contact without a legal framework, raising serious concerns about the legality of the bank’s collaboration with federal law enforcement.
The subpoena is a component of a broader investigation into whether existing laws, such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Bank Secrecy Act, are being misused to justify unauthorized data sharing.
The committee is investigating the complete scope of Bank of America’s information sharing with the FBI to comprehend its impact on civil liberties and contribute to potential legislative reforms.
Jim Jordan issued the following statement on Friday:
Yesterday, the Weaponization Committee subpoenaed Bank of America for sharing private financial data of customers with the FBI.
In 2021, BoA provided the FBI—voluntarily and without any legal process—with a list of individuals who made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area using a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021.
When that information was brought to the attention of Steven Jensen, the FBI’s then-Section Chief of the Domestic Terrorism Operations Section, he acted to “pull” the BoA information from FBI systems because “the leads lacked allegations of federal criminal conduct.”
Documents obtained by the Committee show that the FBI also provided BoA with specific search query terms, indicating that the FBI was “interested in all financial relationships” of BoA customers transacting in Washington D.C. and that had made “ANY historical purchase” of a firearm, or those who had purchased a hotel, Airbnb, or airline travel within a given date range.
This is a huge privacy concern.
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