Conservative Bank Accounts Are Next, Commentator Warns
(ConservativeSense.com) – Many people would point to the Bill of Rights as the cornerstone of personal liberty in America. The First Amendment specifically guarantees freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the ability to petition the government. So, one non-profit organization — developed to fight for religious liberties and support political candidates — is trying to understand why a major bank denied it an account. The cancellation also prompted an op-ed in the DailyCaller questioning whether banks are targeting customers’ politics. So far, answers aren’t forthcoming.
The National Committee for Religious Freedom and Chase Bank
In January, Tom Farr of the Religious Freedom Institute announced the establishment of a new non-profit entity under the institute’s umbrella, the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF). Former US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback founded the new committee. Its mission includes supporting all political candidates who back the free practice of religion and defending religious liberty. Brownback named Rev. Justin Murff as Executive Director.
The new organization falls under a 501(c)4 classification, meaning contributions aren’t tax deductible because the organization designates itself as a political action non-profit. Another key point is the organization doesn’t have to disclose donors, and there are no financial limits on donation amounts. Technically, the NCRF qualifies as a “dark money” organization.
On April 15, the organization opened an account with Chase Bank, a subsidiary of JP Morgan. Members chose the bank based on long-standing relationships several committee members had with the fiduciary institution. Yet, three weeks later, Brownback found the account closed when he attempted to deposit funds.
Brownback told Fox News that bank employees told him corporate-level executives had made the irrevocable decision. He stated the employees said the reasons were “secret,” and they were “not going to tell [him] why.” He described being “stunned.”
Despite several phone calls to JP Morgan Chase and a September 27 letter to CEO Jamie Dimon, Brownback and Murff say they still have no idea why the bank closed the account. Instead, they scrambled to gain control of a chain reaction the closure caused. The founder said they also started asking other organizations about their banking experiences.
In an op-ed Brownback wrote for the Washington Examiner, he questioned why the bank “canceled” the NCRF’s account and what was behind their “secrecy and lack of transparency.” Yet in the same op-ed, the former ambassador at large alleged someone from Chase contacted Murff offering to reevaluate the business relationship if the NCRF would disclose its donors, political beneficiaries, and endorsement criteria for candidates.
A spokesperson for Chase told FOX Business that while he wasn’t at liberty to speak specifically regarding any client, Chase had “never and would never exit a client relationship due to their political or religious affiliation.”
Is This Just More Cancel Culture?
The story, and Brownback’s opinion piece, inspired columnist Tiffany Donnelly of the Daily Caller to write an op-ed of her own. She took the interpretation of the story a step further, accusing the banking institution of canceling the account based on politics despite its denial. Donnelly cites other contemporary examples of financial cancel culture, including PayPal, Venmo, and GoFundMe and their defunding and de-platforming of causes such as anti-war journalists (Mint Press and Consortium), Gays Against Groomers, and the Canadian trucker “Freedom Convoy.”
Still, Donnelly points out how this situation seems to be a first for a mainstream financial institution, and she questions whether the bank violated NCRF donors’ right to anonymity and, by extension, their First Amendment rights with its alleged demand.
What do you think? Is Donnelly right? Are banks subscribing to cancel culture?
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