House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan is ramping up a probe into how financial institutions shared customer information in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Jordan (R-Ohio) on Thursday compelled Bank of America to turn over records related to information sharing with the FBI, according to a copy of the subpoena first obtained by POLITICO.
Bank of America “has refused to provide the committee and select subcommittee with the filing it turned over to the FBI,” Jordan wrote in a letter to Bank of America’s CEO.
The subpoena comes after Jordan and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) announced earlier this year they were investigating the financial institution and requested a tranche of records. Jordan noted in his Thursday letter that so far they had received 223 pages of documents responsive to the request.
Jordan’s letter to Bank of America includes a screenshot of an email between a bank employee, whose name is redacted, to a redacted FBI email, saying that they should have received “our filing on the parameters you discussed … last week.”
But Bank of America wrote in a June letter to Jordan, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, that it was acting under a legal authority established by the Department of Treasury.
A day after a Trump-era Treasury official reached out on Jan. 14, 2021, to a number of banks, per the Bank of America letter, the FBI and Treasury met with banks, and in a follow-up email provided with search parameters that “it indicated were relevant to the inaugural threats being investigated.”
The discussions between the federal government and financial institutions, based on the Bank’s letter to the committee, appeared touch on both so-called suspicious activity reports, which don’t necessarily indicate wrongdoing, and travel and purchases the federal government was interested in and alerting banks to.
“Further at all times following the events of January 6 the Bank complied with its obligations and acted within the bounds of the legal process and all applicable laws,” counsels for the Bank wrote to Jordan in the letter.
Jordan is giving Bank of America until Dec. 15 to turn over documents or communications since Jan. 1, 2021, that refer to or are related to providing financial records to federal law enforcement about transactions in the D.C. area between Jan. 5, 2021, and Jan. 7, 2021. That includes any communications with federal law enforcement on the same topic.
Bank of America, in a statement to POLITICO, reiterated that it “followed all applicable laws in our interactions with the Trump Administration’s Treasury Department and law enforcement.”
In addition to his investigation, Jordan said that the committee could consider legislation, like changing consumer privacy laws, in response to the information sharing and would need a copy of the “filing” to help inform the discussion. Bank of America, in its statement, said that it had “cooperated with the committee as they evaluate whether the laws … should be changed.”
Thursday’s subpoena comes after Jordan also subpoenaed CitiBank earlier this year as part of a larger probe into if, or how, banks shared transaction data from customers in the D.C. area around the Jan. 6 attack with federal law enforcement.
Jordan’s investigation is one piece of a multi-pronged dive House Republicans have done back into Jan. 6 since taking back the majority. In addition to the bank information, Jordan has requested information on the investigation into pipe bombs found near the Capitol.