Citibank was subpoenaed Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan after the company refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation into whether or not financial institutions illegally shared Americans’ private data with the FBI.
The Judiciary Committee, as explained in the August 17 letter, seeks to discover the “extent to which financial institutions, including Citibank, may have shared customer information with federal law enforcement despite the customers having no individualized nexus to criminal conduct.”
The alleged data sharing primarily consisted of transactions made in the Washington, D.C., area, near the time of the January 6 Capitol incursion.
“The Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained evidence showing that at least one major financial institution provided the FBI with private financial data without legal process,” the fiery Republican from Ohio wrote in announcing the subpoena.
“As first noted in our June 12 letter, testimony from current and former FBI officials shows that Bank of America (BoA) provided the FBI—voluntarily and without any legal process—with a list of individuals who made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021.”
Individuals with a firearms purchase on their bank records were elevated to the top of that list, “regardless of the time or place of the firearm purchase,” Rep. Jordan said.
Further, documents obtained by the committee reportedly show that the FBI “supplied BoA with specific search query terms” to identify BoA customers “who had made ‘ANY historical purchase’ of a firearm, or that had purchased a hotel, Airbnb, or airline travel within a given date range.”
This data, according to The Hill, could have been used to track the travel of individuals suspected of rioting at the Capitol.
“Given this concerning testimony, the Committee has written to other major financial institutions, including Citibank, to determine whether those entities were involved in similar conduct,” the letter read.
The institutions previously contacted by the committee included Bank of America, Citibank, J.P. Morgan, PNC, Truist, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, The Hill reported.
Of these, Citibank is the only one that has chosen not to comply with the Judiciary Committee’s investigation, The Hill reported.
As the letter noted: “On June 12, 2023, we requested your voluntary cooperation with our oversight to determine the extent to which financial institutions, such as Citibank, have worked with the FBI to collect Americans’ financial data.”
“To date, Citibank has declined to comply with our request voluntarily, and counsel has represented that it will only comply pursuant to a subpoena.”
Citibank is implicated in this investigation since a representative from their company was “included on emails and Zoom discussions organized by the FBI and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network,” Jordan wrote.
These discussions “focused on ‘identifying the best approach to information sharing, both strategic and operational,’ in the wake of the events of January 6,” the letter said.
Jordan continued, condemning the FBI’s “alarming” use of “back-channel discussions with financial institutions.”
“The Committee and Select Subcommittee must understand how and to what extent financial institutions, such as Citibank, worked with the FBI—and potentially other executive branch entities—to collect Americans’ data without an individualized nexus to criminal conduct,” the letter read.
Jordan also sent out another set of subpoenas on Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, alleging the FBI and DOJ together “pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints” in direct violation of the First Amendment.
Additionally, the committee obtained documents earlier this month revealing that multiple FBI field offices worked together to draft an internal memo which reportedly likened traditional Catholics to domestic terrorists.