Republicans Must Stop the Big Banks From Destroying the First Amendment With “Financial Deplatforming”

Republicans Must Stop the Big Banks From Destroying the First Amendment With “Financial Deplatforming”. By Revolver.

Right now, the single most existential threat to free speech in America is the rise of financial deplatforming. If conservatives want to preserve the ability to think and speak freely in the decades to come, they must act to prevent the country’s most powerful financial institutions from imposing a brutal censorship regime on the entire country. …

In Congress and across fifty state legislatures, the GOP’s shortsighted support for laissez-fair economics is allowing left-wing corporations to plot their destruction.

Conservative writer Bay Buchanan recently summed up the danger in a piece for CNS News:

Time and time again, corporations [have] bent the knee before outraged activists and stifled the free speech of ordinary Americans. We see this when social media giants regularly censor and ban individuals who run afoul of liberal orthodoxy. …

Less noticed is the threat of financial de-platforming. This growing menace means those who dissent from the official left-wing line won’t even be allowed to bank or use a credit card.

  • In New York, state financial regulators pressured banks and insurance companies to deny services to the NRA on the grounds that those services created “reputational risk” that would invite further regulatory harassment.
  • Conservative activist and former Congressional candidate Laura Loomer has been banned from PayPal, GoFundMe, and Venmo in an effort to keep others from donating to her.
  • At the request of the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, Visa and MasterCard stopped processing donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
  • In 2018, Citigroup announced that it would not help any company borrow money or use banking services if it was involved in the (legal) sale of firearms to those under 21. Shotgun manufacturers have had their bank accounts closed. So have contractors working with federal immigration enforcement.
  • In 2019, Chase Bank forcibly closed every account for Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio. Tarrio has also been banned by PayPal and many other credit card payment processors. The intent is clear: Because Tarrio is linked to a group the left hates, he must not be allowed the basic trappings of a normal life. …

Some in the Trump administration have fought to reverse the deplatforming trend and hold the big banks accountable. The Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently drafted a rule that would bar major banks from denying services to customers for any reason other than a “documented failure to meet quantitative, impartial risk-based standards established in advance.” In other words, banks could only reject customers for valid financial reasons, not political ones.

The OCC’s leadership understands the importance of this rule.

“Banks don’t set national policy. They don’t choose what goods and services are available to consumers. Nor do they determine which industries are legal. It is the job of democratically elected government to make those decisions” …

Don’t be distracted by supporting banning “speech” you dislike:

Some Republican senators, such as Ted Cruz, wisely support the OCC’s initiative, but other Republicans are distracted. Some even endorse financial deplatforming as a tool. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley praised MasterCard for deplatforming Pornhub earlier this month and urged “every other credit card company” to follow suit. …

Pornography is insidious and fighting it is a moral imperative. Pornhub should be put out of business. But the way to ban internet pornography is by simply enforcing obscenity laws that are already on the books. Conservatives controlled the Department of Justice for the past four years, and yet they did nothing to combat this scourge. … Ronald Reagan’s DOJ largely put the pornography industry out of business in the 1980s. …

We absolutely must not normalize financial deplatforming simply because one target deserves to be destroyed. Asking banks and credit card companies to censor a nominally lawful business creates a precedent that will be used against conservatives and other political dissidents. Liberal politicians would love to have credit card processors cut off gun rights groups and pro-lifers. If the Pornhub incident becomes a precedent, any business or group that offends the powerful will be subject to an extrajudicial death sentence.