An outspoken adversary of COVID vaccines, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Florida, recently announced, “The Weaponization of Finance: Get ready for a rough ride.” It follows the cancelling of all of his business’ bank accounts in July by Chase Bank, as well as the cancellation of all the accounts held by Mercola’s key staff members.
The story is not new to Montanans, who have heard the story of gun and ammunition manufacturers relocating to Montana because of the discrimination they experienced from financial institutions in other states.
Mercola predicts “the time has arrived when, if you have a view that goes against the official narrative, you’re cut off from basic financial services.” His experience he believes is “just the start” of what is in store for any business or organization that stands in opposition to approved political narratives. He pointed out that his Mercola Market bank accounts were cancelled as well the “personal accounts of my CEO and CFO …and the accounts of their spouses and children.” This occurred despite the fact that a new Florida law specifically prohibits financial institutions from denying or canceling services based on political or religious beliefs.
Chase Bank responded to Mercola’s charged saying they cancelled the accounts because there was “unexpected activity” on one account and the action was typical of procedures followed in anti-money laundering purposes.
No money laundering charges have ever been brought, said Mercola, who added that in a real money laundering case, they seize your accounts outright. “They don’t instruct you to take your business elsewhere.”
Later, Chase Bank replied to an inquiry by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, that the accounts were closed because Mercola’s business had “been the subject of regulatory scrutiny by the Federal government … for engaging in illegal activity relating to the marketing and sale of consumer products.”
Mercola said that the last contact he has had with the Food and Drug Administration was in 2021 warning him not to recommend vitamins, etc. “to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19.” “We responded to the FDA’s letter and no further action was ever taken, because we had not, in fact, violated the law,” said Mercola. He went on to state, “…something else prompted Chase Bank to close our accounts, and the most likely reason appears to be the bank’s relationships to the technocratic control network that is trying to usher in a one world totalitarian government.”
Mercola’s concerns about financial weaponization are shared with the attorneys general from 19 states which earlier this year, accused JPMorgan Chase of “closing accounts and discriminating against customers due to their political or religious beliefs,” according to Business Insider. They reported, “the bank had canceled major organizations’ checking accounts and had asked screening questions focused on religion and politics before reinstating them.”
The accounts for the National Committee for Religious Freedom were cancelled and then informed they would reopen the account “if it provided a list of its donors, a list of the political candidates it intended to support, and details of the criteria used to determine its support and endorsements.”
Newsweek also had a report in April from Nebraska’s state treasurer, John Murante, who said he is disturbed by JPMorgan Chase’s “disturbing track record of debanking clients for biased or arbitrary reasons,” including fossil fuel companies and firearm manufacturers. Murante said Chase also conditions its services on whether company employees agree with customers’ political or religious activities.” He specifically identified that Chase cancelled accounts of “… former ambassador Sam Brownback, the Arkansas Family Council, Defense of Liberty, and retired general Michael Flynn, Jr — for holding mainstream American views.”
The Hill.com has also commented on concerns on what it called “redlining,” “… against legal industries, for political and ideological reasons and blaming it on vague risks to the banks’ reputations.” As an example, The Hill stated, “Six of the largest U.S. banks already have committed not to fund new exploration and production projects in the Arctic….Debanking fossil fuel firms could lead to a disastrous energy shortage in the United States.”
Former U.S. Attorney Frank Keating writing for The Hill explained why banks were rejecting politically incorrect industries. “Officials at both the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) threatened banks with regulatory pressure if they did not bend to their will. . . Gun and ammunition dealers, payday lenders and other businesses operating legally suddenly found banks terminating their accounts with little explanation aside from ‘regulatory pressure.’”
Near the end of the Trump administration, The Hill said, “…the government should adopt a proposed new regulation to stop it…. In more general terms, banks are incapable of making qualitative judgments based on notions of morality. A situation in which banks refuse service based on possibly ephemeral perceptions of morality and societal good is a divergence from the open and generally capitalist system to which we have strived since our nation’s founding.”
The Hill in 2021 reported on Trump’s Fair Access Rule, put forward by The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) which “finalized a controversial rule banning large banks from rejecting businesses based on their industry,” which was praised by Republicans who had criticized banks that dropped clients in the firearm industry or that pledged to stop funding Arctic drilling projects. Those banks included Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.
Democrats argued that the Dodd-Frank fair access principles are meant to protect people of color and low income communities who’ve faced decades of banking discrimination — “not powerful corporations with ample financial sector options.”
Banks also objected. “The rule lacks both logic and legal basis, it ignores basic facts about how banking works, and it will undermine the safety and soundness of the banks to which it applies,” said Greg Baer, president and CEO of the Bank Policy Institute, a research and advocacy group for big U.S. banks.
Even free market advocates disagreed with the regulation. John Berlau, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Reason (magazine) that “the rule’s broad wording would do more than merely prevent large banks from discriminating against unpopular businesses. It would also force small banks into relationships with businesses they are not equipped to handle.”
Berlau argued that preventing banks from discriminating against certain industries “violates their right to free association and would hurt niche banks that specialize in specific industries, like farming, industrial lending, or financial technology, forcing them to lend to businesses with which they are less familiar.”
Reason Magazine later reported, “The Biden administration has rolled back a Trump-era regulation meant to protect politically disfavored businesses, like gun manufacturers and cryptocurrency exchanges, from being categorically denied banking services.”