Lawmakers at the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee are set to grill Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday morning regarding alleged privacy violations committed by her department on gun owners.
Ahead of Yellen’s testimony, Gun Owners of America (GOA) published a letter outlining tough questions committee lawmakers need to press the secretary after recent revelations found that the feds asked financial institutions to search and filter customer transactions for firearms-related terms.
Aidan Johnston, director of Federal Affairs for GOA, told Fox News:
“Congress cannot allow the federal government to continue establishing and expanding databases on guns and gun owners.
“Whether it is the misuse of gun store records and financial data by the Department of Justice or firearm transaction data by the Department of the Treasury, data collection on guns and their lawful owners must be stopped.”
Watch Live (hearing begins at 0900 ET):
“If banks and the Treasury are playing the same domestic spy game that Twitter and Facebook have been playing with the FBI, tales like the frozen finances of protesting Canadian truckers won’t be novelties for long,” Taibbi of Racket News wrote in a report earlier this week.
GOA’s letter and their commentary on today’s upcoming hearing are provided below.
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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Gun Owners of America just sent a letter to our allies in the Senate, demanding that they question Yellen on a recent revelation by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The findings indicated that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) violated the privacy rights of gun owners by instructing banks to track purchases related to the firearms industry.
FinCEN indiscriminately targeted and labeled gun owners as “potential active shooters,” “domestic terrorists,” and “homegrown violent extremists” for simply shopping at retailers like Bass Pro Shops and Cabella’s.
Congress cannot allow the federal government to continue establishing and expanding databases on guns and gun owners. This is why our letter demands Congress ask Secretary Yellen these four questions:
Does Secretary Yellen believe that all those who shop at gun stores like Cabella’s are “potential active shooters” as the document distributed by FinCEN suggests?
Does Secretary Yellen believe that buying something from Bass Pro Shops mean that the customer might be a “Domestic Terrorist” or a “Homegrown Violent Extremist” as the document distributed by FinCEN suggests?
Does Secretary Yellen believe the Treasury Department should be mass accumulating American citizens’ potential firearm transactions?
What Protections, if any, does the Department of Treasury have in place to ensure the privacy of law-abiding Americans Second Amendment rights?
While the findings from the Treasury Department are unfortunate, they are indicative of a sinister pattern at federal agencies. The Weaponization Committee also caught the FBI misusing firearm transaction data by asking Bank of America for records if a customer had made “ANY historical purchase” of a firearm.
Gun Owners of America has also caught the ATF in violation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act’s prohibition on a gun registry. The ATF currently has around a billion digital records of firearm transactions in a searchable database.
The fact that the Treasury Department is teaching financial institutions how to search financial data to find gun owners by flagging firearms transactions is concerning.
That’s precisely why Gun Owners of America stands vigilant against the anti-gun bureaucrats in Washington. We’re working with our allies in the Senate to end this tyrannical overreach in the Treasury Department, and wherever else it appears.
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