Last Updated on June 25, 2021
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has called for a federal investigation into Wells Fargo after it closed down the accounts of former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Lauren Witzke and American Greatness columnist Peter D’Abrosca.
National File reported earlier this month that Lauren Witzke, the Christian conservative activist and former Republican Senate candidate for Delaware, had her account terminated by Wells Fargo while visiting friends in Florida. “Had I not been surrounded by friends in Florida, I would be completely stranded,” she wrote in a post on Telegram, as she was nearly stuck out of state with no access to her funds.
In an email to National File, Wells Fargo claimed that the decision to cancel Witzke’s account was not due to “political views or affiliations” but could have been due to “a number of reasons” and claimed they “reviewed this situation” and “it was handled appropriately.” However, Pete D’Abrosca, the former US House candidate and writer for American Greatness, also had his account terminated on the same day as Witzke, and, like Witzke, was told it was for “business reasons” that his account was removed.
In a letter to federal banking authorities, Rep. Paul Gosar revealed that he was contacted by Witzke about her situation, who raised the possibility with the America First congressman that her account termination was “done for discriminatory purposes in violation of federal banking laws.” Gosar asked the Offices for Large Bank Supervision and the Comptroller of the Currency to “open an investigation” into the removal by Wells Fargo of Witzke and D’Abrosca. “It is my understanding that regulated banks cannot discriminate against customers because of the customers’s religious beliefs,” Gosar wrote.
HUGE: @DrPaulGosar calls for an investigation into Wells Fargo for religiously persecuting their clients!
Christians are a protected class and we will NOT be discriminated against.
Thank you Congressman Gosar for standing up for Christians against Wells Fargo. pic.twitter.com/yvgv1U9Rjf
— Hold the Line PAC (@HoldTheLinePAC) June 25, 2021
The congressman from Arizona cited various pieces of legislation, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Civil Rights Act, which notes that Christianity and religion are protected classes from discrimination by financial institutions. “By closing her account due to her membership in a protected class, Wells Fargo may have engaged in discriminatory lending practices and public accommodation,” Gosar argued. He further slammed the decision to “describe a business reason to terminate a customer account as a ‘business reason’,” as purely tautological. “That is in essence ‘because’,” he said.
“In light of the commonality of their strong Christian advocacy and public statements in support of Christian values, well-documented, and when compared to the opaque ‘justification’ of ‘business reasons’ it would appear a prima facie case of religious discrimination could have occurred,” Gosar added. “For that reason, I am asking for a review of Wells Fargo’s decision to terminate the banking relationships set forth above under the applicable federal laws,” he concluded.
Both Witzke and D’Abrosca had confirmed to National File that they were exploring legal options regarding their debanking by Wells Fargo. “We’re fighting back,” Witzke said in a post on her Telegram channel. “Hold the Line now, or lose everything and be thrown in the gulags later.”