Congress Probes Government Role in Monitoring Political Terms Online

The US House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government is delving into the involvement of various financial entities in monitoring political terms following the events of January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Allegations suggest that these entities, possibly driven by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), tracked terms such as “Trump” and “MAGA” on platforms like Eventbrite and GoFundMe. This has sparked questions about the level of government influence on digital platforms.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has penned letters to Eventbrite and GoFundMe, probing their activities during that period. He cites evidence indicating that FinCEN “encouraged private financial institutions to review customer transactions using politically sensitive terms.” Other scrutinized keywords reportedly included “America First,” “Pelosi,” and “Pence.” Jordan contends that these transactions, seemingly unrelated to criminal behavior, were treated by FinCEN as potential threats despite their connection to First Amendment rights.

Chairman Jordan has called on Eventbrite and GoFundMe to furnish documented information regarding potential collusion between the government and digital platforms. The committee has set a deadline of March 18 for the companies to respond. The letters outline how individuals who purchased tickets to President Trump’s events could be singled out, with the committee alleging this constituted “pervasive financial surveillance.” Concerns have been raised regarding potential violations of fundamental civil liberties of American citizens.