Tuesday | October 4, 2022

Scott, Hagerty, Colleagues Lambaste Amalgamated Bank for Weaponizing Financial System to Infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Senators Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and 23 colleagues in sending a letter to Amalgamated Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Sims Brown, criticizing the bank’s manipulation of an international rules organization to force U.S. financial services firms to categorize gun purchases—an indefensible attempt to target law-abiding Americans exercising their right to purchase firearms and to enact far-left political goals.

“Your bank is attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Americans by going around the democratic process. You should expect Congressional oversight of your actions,” the senators wrote.

The Senators pointed to Amalgamated Bank’s website, where its anti-firearm agenda is made alarmingly clear. 

“It is clear from Amalgamated Bank’s website that it has fully embraced an anti-firearm agenda. Whether it is choosing to debank firearms manufacturers, forcing all commercial clients to adopt anti-gun control codes, or divesting customer assets from lawful businesses, these decisions demonstrate your attempt to force your political views on law-abiding Americans. If you want to change gun policy, you should run for office and make yourself accountable to voters. What’s worse, these actions weren’t enough for you, so you set your sights on forcing these radical and discriminatory policies on the entire financial system,” the senators continued.

Prior to the International Standards Organization (ISO)’s recent creation of a merchant category code (MCC) that will target, surveil and discourage gun and ammunition sellers earlier this month, Amalgamated Bank submitted three applications for its anti-firearm policies—each of which were rejected. 

“Let us be clear: weaponizing the financial system to enact far-left political goals is inexcusable… You should consider this notice to retain all communications involving your role in ISO’s categorization scheme, and you should anticipate testifying before Congress in the near future,” the senators concluded. 

Additional signers include United States Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Boozman (R-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

A copy of the letter can be found here and below. 

Dear Ms. Brown,

We write to you about your bank’s manipulation of an international rules organization to force U.S. financial services firms to categorize gun purchases. Your bank is attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Americans by going around the democratic process. You should expect Congressional oversight of your actions.

As you are undoubtedly aware, earlier this month, the International Standards Organization (ISO) based in Switzerland created a merchant category code (MCC) specifically to target, surveil and discourage gun and ammunition sellers. Your actions were a major step toward targeting law-abiding Americans exercising their right to purchase firearms, a right that is protected by the Constitution.

It is clear from Amalgamated Bank’s website that it has fully embraced an anti-firearm agenda.  Whether it is choosing to debank firearms manufacturers, forcing all commercial clients to adopt anti-gun control codes, or divesting customer assets from lawful businesses, these decisions demonstrate your attempt to force your political views on law-abiding Americans. If you want to change gun policy, you should run for office and make yourself accountable to voters. What’s worse, these actions weren’t enough for you, so you set your sights on forcing these radical and discriminatory policies on the entire financial system.

There was good reason that the ISO rejected your previous three applications for this policy, as such a move is purely political, not to mention the immense regulatory and compliance burden it will ultimately place on retailers.

Let us be clear: weaponizing the financial system to enact far-left political goals is inexcusable.  The fundamental rights of Americans should be legislated on and debated by the elected officials who are sent to Washington, D.C. on their constituents’ behalf, and not by progressive activist CEOs or un-elected bureaucrats in Geneva.

You should consider this notice to retain all communications involving your role in ISO’s categorization scheme, and you should anticipate testifying before Congress in the near future.

Sincerely,

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