Congressional Investigation Uncovers FBI’s Extensive Financial Monitoring Activities with Bank of America

Newly acquired documents by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government reveal that specific terms like “MAGA” and “Trump” are flagged by federal authorities for financial institutions when utilized by American citizens during transactions. The FBI’s extensive financial monitoring activities became a serious point of concern to Congressional investigators and further elevated the contentious battle between the political parties.

Republican members on the panel noted that individuals who made purchases at stores such as Cabela’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods, or bought religious texts such as the Bible, might also find their transactions flagged.

Representative Jim Jordan, who chairs both the select subcommittee and the House Judiciary Committee, penned a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray seeking a recorded discussion with Peter Sullivan, a senior partner for private sector engagement at the FBI’s Strategic Partner Engagement Section.

Additionally, he sent a similar request to Noah Bishoff, a former top official at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which monitors financial transactions to combat money laundering related to domestic and international terrorism.

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In his correspondence to Mr. Bishoff, the Ohio congressman highlighted that documents obtained by the two committees indicated that following the January 6 riot, FinCEN distributed materials to financial institutions detailing various profiles of persons of interest.

According to Mr. Jordan, FinCEN provided these institutions with recommended search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) to assist in identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.

Mr. Jordan also noted that the committee and select subcommittee obtained documents revealing that FinCEN circulated presentations, developed by a financial institution, explaining to other financial entities how to utilize MCC codes to identify potential threats in customer transactions.

Despite the absence of any apparent criminal activity, FinCEN appears to have profiled these individuals as potential threats, Mr. Jordan observed.

This extensive financial monitoring, conducted in collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies, infringes on the privacy of American citizens’ transactions and raises serious concerns about FinCEN’s commitment to fundamental civil liberties,” he remarked.

Efforts by The Washington Times to reach out to the FBI and FinCEN for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

According to Mr. Jordan, documents acquired by the committee and select subcommittee also revealed that FBI personnel, including Mr. Sullivan, engaged with Bank of America and provided specific search terms, indicating interest in all financial activities of BoA customers in Washington D.C., as well as customers who had previously purchased firearms or engaged in hotel, Airbnb, or airline transactions within a specific timeframe.

Moreover, the Committee and Select Subcommittee have acquired documents indicating that FBI personnel in the Office of Private Sector drafted an official report that broadly categorized certain political beliefs as indicators of domestic violent extremism,” Mr. Jordan wrote.

The report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Likely Emboldened in Aftermath of Capitol Breach,” was disseminated to financial institutions, he noted, “to notify private sector partners that the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, by suspected domestic violent extremists could potentially motivate various types of extremist activities.

Mr. Jordan further detailed that the report cited factors that could incite criminal actors and domestic violent extremists to violence, including heightened socio-political tensions surrounding firearm legislation, relaxation of immigration restrictions, and dissatisfaction with renewed measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

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