JP Morgan Backtracks on Cutting Ties With Conservative Group After Outrage

JPMorgan Chase, the country's largest bank, has backtracked on a decision to cut ties with a Missouri conservative group that planned to host a political fundraiser featuring Donald Trump Jr., following backlash from officials.

The Defense of Liberty political action committee used WePay, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, for ticketing on a December 3 event in St. Charles, Missouri.

However, on November 9, WePay suspended its services to the Missouri political action committee, citing their Terms of Service which prohibit processing for "hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime, or items or activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others regarding the same."

In response, Missouri treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick sent a stern letter to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, informing the bank that the state of Missouri "would not do business with them so long as they continued to discriminate against customers based on their mainstream political positions."

Fitzpatrick said WePay failed to elaborate on how the group or the scheduled event fell into any of these "troubling categories," noting that it said its information was proprietary and their decision was "final."

Conservative views are "supported by half the country and 60% of voting Missourians in the last election," Fitzpatrick wrote in his letter to Dimon, accusing the bank of divisive and "un-American" conduct.

He also noted in his letter that the group has in its 10-year history hosted conservative speakers from a variety of backgrounds, and that the event series "provides an opportunity for leading conservative thinkers to share ideas."

"Hate, violence, racial intolerance, and terrorism are antithetical to the mission of the Defense of Liberty organization and its founder Paul Curtman, who served our nation admirably in the Marine Corps and deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."

Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley and Attorney General Eric Schmitt each wrote letters to Dimon on Thursday questioning WePay's decision to suspend its services to the group.

Reversing course, the bank told Fitzpatrick that it had conducted further review and determined that the Defense of Liberty political action committee "didn't violate the Terms of Service."

Fitzpatrick said in a news release that JPMorgan Chase told him the bank will clarify WePay's terms and conditions and also offered to reinstate the account for the Defense of Liberty organization.

"I am glad that JP Morgan Chase quickly recognized their mistake and has committed to reviewing their internal policies and procedures. I am looking forward to receiving information about concrete action the bank plans to take to prevent future discriminatory actions," Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

"While private businesses have the right to do business with whomever they please, Missouri will not do business with financial institutions who discriminate against its customers based on their mainstream political ideology," he added.

"After further review, we determined that this organization didn't violate the terms of service, and we are reaching out to the client to discuss reinstating the account," a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase told Newsweek in an emailed statement. "To be clear, we have never and would never close an account due to a client's political affiliation."

Update 11/19/21, 8:36 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from JPMorgan Chase.

Donald J. Trump Jr. at a rally
Donald J. Trump Jr. speaks at rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. A scheduled event featuring Donald Trump Jr. was initially canceled after WePay, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, alleged the event's organizer violated WePay's policy against "hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime, or items or activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others regarding the same." Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images