Senator Grills Janet Yellen On Treasury Flagging Trump Supporters

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) had a series of tough questions for Biden Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday about alleged Treasury Department discrimination against Trump supporters for confidential tax info.

“Even more damage continues to be inflicted on the credibility of the Treasury,” Hagerty began. “If you talk about last month’s revelation that FinCEN — that’s a bureau that’s under your watch — directed financial institutions to flag customers who demonstrated ‘extremist indicators’ like the words ‘Trump’ or ‘MAGA’ or whether they made transactions to purchase religious books.”

“This time it’s not just an IRS contractor doing it. This is the administration itself taking personal data to target its political foes. Secretary Yellen, do you believe that people that purchase Bibles are extremists?” Hagerty asked.

Sen. Haggerty’s remarks begin at 4:40 in a Forbes Breaking News publication of video from the Senate hearing.

“Certainly not,” Secretary Yellen answered, “I want to put this matter in perspective. First of all, FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use to combat money laundering, terrorist financing—” Then Hagerty interrupted her to ask, “Certainly not to target Americans for purchasing Bibles or voting for Donald Trump?”

“FinCEN is expected to work closely with law enforcement and financial institutions on their money laundering detection programs so there are interchanges and conversations between FinCEN and financial institutions,” Yellen continued.

“And I believe that the matter that you are referring to dates back to before my time as Treasury Secretary and in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” Yellen explained. “So starting in the Trump administration there were efforts to work with financial institutions to determine what had happened and to work with them to provide relevant information.”

“And purchasing a Bible is relevant information?” Hagerty asked. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a shame,” he averred. Yellen closed her remarks by committing to investigate Sen. Hagerty’s concern about the Treasury Department: “The details I promise to thoroughly investigate and get back to you.”

“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 FinCEN’s respect for fundamental civil liberties,” committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) remarked.