Senate GOP wants Treasury answers on banks ‘surveillance’ of customer transactions.

January 19, 2024
1 min read

TLDR: Senate Republican Sen. Tim Scott is demanding answers from the Treasury Department and its financial crimes enforcement division regarding their request for banks to “surveil” customer transactions using politically charged search terms. This comes after reports that the agencies asked banks to search private transactions for terms like “MAGA,” “Trump,” and purchases of religious texts to turn the information over to law enforcement. Scott argues that these actions would violate Americans’ privacy and target U.S. citizens for exercising their constitutional rights without due process. He also expressed concern over the weaponization and misuse of merchant category codes (MCC codes) and the potential to surveil lawful activity. Scott has asked the Treasury Department to provide information on FinCEN’s role in soliciting financial data from private companies, as well as the involvement of other executive branch agencies. The search terms, which were generated by a bank and shared with other banks by FinCEN, included terms like “MAGA,” “Trump,” “Biden,” and “penace.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is requesting transcribed interviews with former FinCEN and FBI officials to aid in oversight investigation.

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