JPMorgan Denies Discriminating Against Conservative Activists, Closing Their Accounts

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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Chase Bank in Sidney, Ohio, 2012. Photo: Chris Flook/WikiCommons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chase_Bank_Sidney.jpg

A Washington, D.C. public policy research center wants JPMorgan Chase to guarantee it will never discriminate against conservatives after several bank customers’ accounts were closed.

Conservative activists are calling out the largest financial institution in the U.S., saying they’re being targeted, according to a New York Post report.

JPMorgan came under fire 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.

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Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys. A violent, far-right, anti-left, anti-anti-fascist group, Proud Boys has been suspended from Twitter before for violating its policies prohibiting violent extremist groups.

A retired Army sergeant, Joe Biggs is one of the loudest voices on the right. A believer in the rise of citizen journalists, he speaks at free speech rallies across the U.S.

Laura Loomer is a conspiracy theorist and internet personality noted for her far-right politics and undercover video investigations.

Martina Markota is a former burlesque dancer and Donald Trump supporter who believes she is fighting a culture war. She said her support for Trump has exposed her to harassment.

They claim their accounts were closed without satisfactory explanations, New York Post reported.

Maybe conservatives should consider banking elsewhere, said David W. Almasi, National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President, in a press release.

“If Jamie Dimon can’t absolutely guarantee that Chase Bank won’t ever discriminate against conservatives, conservatives should consider banking elsewhere,” Almasi said in an NCPPR press release.

Almasi said he questioned Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, at the shareholders meeting in Chicago this month. Dimon assured Almasi that the bank is not currently closing accounts for political reasons — but fell short of a flat-out blanket denial, Almasi said.

“We have not and do not debank people because of their political views,”
Dimon told Almasi at the shareholders meeting. “…we debank people ’cause they’re DSA, AML, KYC or unable to meet regulation-regulatory-type of requirements for them.”N

Anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) software are used to combat financial crime and avoid trouble with the law. These are required in many areas by government regulations.

Almasi and other critics worry that JPMorgan, still a private bank, may have closed the accounts as part of a larger purge of account holders with right-leaning affiliations. 

U.S. banks should not shut down customers’ accounts if they disagree with their political views, bank industry analyst Dick Bove told New York Post.