April 21, 2024

Republican Jim Jordan adds Eventbrite and GoFundMe to list of financial institutions being investigated for searching ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ in customers’ transactions to look for ‘extremists’ at the urging of the Biden administration after January 6

By Jon Michael Raasch, Political Reporter In Washington, D.C., For Dailymail.Com

23:57 04 Mar 2024, updated 00:02 05 Mar 2024

  • Federal officials investigating Jan. 6 asked banks to filter through customer transactions including key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’
  • The government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other outdoors stores that sell guns
  • The Treasury Department also warned banks of ‘extremism’ indicators like the purchase of a religious text, such as a Bible 
  • Top Republican Jim Jordan sent letters GoFundMe and Eventbrite Monday asking about their involvement in surveilling customers’ transactions

Two major crowdfunding sites are being investigated by Republicans as they expand the scope of their probe into how the Biden administration worked with financial institutions to surveil Americans they considered to be ‘extremists.’ 

In the aftermath of January 6, Biden administration Treasury Department officials suggested that banks review transactions at sporting and recreational supplies stores like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops in order to detect customers who might be ‘extremists.’

In addition, officials also warned banks of ‘extremism’ indicators like the purchase of a religious text, like a Bible, or searches including the terms ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP.’

On Monday, the House ‘weaponization’ committee chairman Jim Jordan sent letters to GoFundMe and Eventbrite asking that they cooperate with their ongoing investigation, exclusively reported by DailyMail.com.

Republicans say that the federal government urged the crowdfunding platforms to ‘comb’ through their personal transactions ‘report charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.’ 

He is requesting the sites turn over their previous communications with federal officials, including those at the Treasury, who oversaw the transaction surveillance.

Federal investigators suggested that banks use search terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify purchased that could be associated with ‘extremism’
Transportation charges for travel to areas with no apparent purpose could be an indicator of ‘extremism,’ according to the letter

Jordan writes that his committee has obtained documents showing that on January 18, 2021, Treasury officials from the FinCEN division emailed GoFundMe, Eventbrite, Anedot and others. 

The officials explained how they could ‘use a ‘transaction reference’ to identify customers. 

They included details on how to search using an individuals’ card purchase and phone number specifically for Trump rally attendees.

‘FinCEN noted how ‘Card Purchase[s]’ to events are findable using ‘the transaction reference ‘EB [the EVENT] with the phone number’ and detailed how individuals who purchased tickets to events in support of President Trump could be identified using the transaction reference,’ the email stated.

Jordan scathed in his letter Monday saying these searches were being conducted despite the transactions ‘having no apparent nexus to criminal activity.’

He says as Americans were exercising their First Amendment rights, FinCEN officials ‘adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors.’

His committee is continuing to investigate and is demanding the crowdfunding sites provide requested documentation no later than March 18.

DailyMail.com reached out to GoFundMe and Eventbrite for comment. 

Jordan has previously claimed the federal government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent outdoor stores that sell guns – or who are religious.

The terms ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ were also suggested by the Treasury to be searched in Zelle payments, according to Jordan.

Subscriptions to news outlets containing ‘extremist’ views would also be an indicator for financial instructions to look at, according to the material the Treasury provided to banks. 

‘Did you shop at Bass Pro Shop yesterday or purchase a Bible? If so, the federal government may be watching you,’ Jordan previously wrote in a post.

‘We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP,’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,’ he wrote in another post. ‘What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.’

The federal officials may have illegally provided financial institutions with suggested search terms for ‘identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement,’ said Jordan.

Jordan is also demanding information from a Treasury official, Noah Bishoff, after the alarming documents came to light.

Purchases from Bass Pro Shops could also be an indicator of extremism
The committee also obtained documents indicating officials suggested that banks query purchases with keywords such as ‘Dick’s Sporting Goods’

‘This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about [the Treasury’s] respect for fundamental liberties.’

‘In other words, [the Treasury] urged large financial instructions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression,’ said the committee’s letter to Bishoff.

House Speaker Mike Johnson called the revelation ‘yet another glaring example of the weaponized federal government targeting conservatives.’

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