Conservative activists are calling out America’s largest financial institution charging they are being targeted.
JPMorgan Chase is under fire for closing the bank accounts of several customers in the conservative movement as other right-wingers are threatening to close their accounts unless the bank plays nice.
“If Jamie Dimon can’t absolutely guarantee that Chase Bank won’t ever discriminate against conservatives, conservatives should consider banking elsewhere,” warned David Almasi, vice president of the conservative-leaning National Center for Public Policy Research, referring to JPMorgan’s chairman and CEO.
JPMorgan first landed in hot water soon after conservative activists Enrique Tarrio, Joe Biggs, Laura Loomer and Martina Markota discovered their accounts at Chase were closed within weeks of each other earlier this year — and without satisfactory explanations, they claim.
Tarrio is a Trump supporter and head of the Proud Boys organization. Several Chase managers could not give him a satisfactory reason for the account’s closure. One even called the closing “mind-boggling.”
Last week’s shareholders meeting reminded Almasi of George Orwell’s “1984.” Almasi delivered a copy of the dystopian futuristic novel to a JPMorgan Chase employee to present to Dimon. That was to underline his view that the current “debanking and deplatforming” of conservatives by American businesses — from JPMorgan to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter — is akin to how political adversaries had their identities crushed in Orwell’s searing book.
Almasi and other critics fear the recent account closures by JPMorgan may be part of a larger purge by the bank, not yet public, of other accounts affiliated with right-leaning causes. And he said Dimon has only muddied the waters, after assuring him the bank is not currently closing accounts for political reasons — but falling short of a flat-out blanket denial.
“I was able to tell him that we have circumstantial evidence that people lost their bank accounts,” Almasi told The Post, recalling how he questioned Dimon at the shareholders meeting, held in Chicago last week, when he asked whether Chase had, “debanked conservatives and will not wield its power against conservatives in the future.”
Almasi, representing his group’s Free Enterprise Project, said Dimon assured him the bank has not pulled any more customer accounts. “But he stopped short” of saying it won’t do it in the future, Almasi added. And while there’s no immediate evidence of a hidden blacklist, Almasi frets that conservatives like him, who bank with Chase, could be targeted.
“If you noticed, Dimon kind of skirted that issue of whether they would do it or not,” said David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision PR Group, a public relations and branding agency that advises companies on how to handle social messaging. “Dimon was not at all clear,” Johnson added. “And if he opens up for any reason by doing that, then it becomes a major story.”
Dimon, using acronyms for laws deployed by banks to stop crooks, told Almasi at the shareholders meeting: “Very directly, we have not and do not debank people because of their political views. We have not and do not. And we debank people ’cause they’re DSA, AML, KYC or unable to meet regulation-regulatory-type of requirements for them.” JP Morgan didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story.
Bank industry analyst Dick Bove said US banks should not shut down customers’ accounts if they disagree with their political views.
“Presumably freedom of speech still exists in the United States,” he added.