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ADF to testify before US House subcommittee on weaponization of federal government

ADF attorneys available for media interviews prior to, following hearing Thursday

WHO:  Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco

WHAT:  Hearing of U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government

WHEN:  Following the hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. EST Thursday, March 7

WHERE:  2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager Jacqueline Ribeiro at (202) 961-9396.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government made public Tuesday that it has invited Alliance Defending Freedom to testify at a hearing Thursday. The committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, has previously disclosed that federal law enforcement agencies partnered with major banks and payment processors to flag Americans’ purchases from stores like Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as those related to “religious texts,” including Bibles.

“Big Banks and Big Tech pose threats to freedom like Big Brother does,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco, who will testify at the hearing. “What’s worse is the mounting evidence that Big Brother is enlisting Big Business in its censorship schemes. The federal government is attempting an end-run around the Constitution by outsourcing censorship to some of the most powerful corporations the world has ever known. But where the First Amendment is concerned, the government can’t do indirectly what it is forbidden from doing directly. ”

At the hearing, Tedesco will testify about how politicized de-banking—denying financial services based on a customer’s religious or political views—is on the rise. For example, in 2023 Bank of America used a vaguely worded “risk tolerance” policy to cancel the accounts of Memphis-based nonprofit Indigenous Advance Ministries, which serves orphans and widows in Uganda, and the account of a Tennessee church that occasionally supported Indigenous Advance.

In 2022, JPMorgan Chase canceled the account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, which was founded by former Senator and U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback. Chase never gave a satisfactory reason for the cancelation, instead offering at least five contradictory and unconvincing explanations over the course of a year.

Tedesco will explain that underlying these cancelations are “reputational risk” and similarly vague and subjective policies that bank employees and government banking regulators use to withdraw financial services based on a customer’s exercise of its First Amendment rights.

ADF has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in two cases at the U.S. Supreme Court (Murthy v. Missouri and National Rifle Association v. Vullo) and one at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (Volokh v. James) that involve the government inducing or encouraging powerful businesses to censor and penalize everyday Americans for their speech.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Jeremy Tedesco
Jeremy Tedesco
Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement
Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom.