Image: public domain
The American Liberty movement was awakened and invigorated because of the 2020 election. More Americans now understand how far astray we have wandered from the foundational principles of our forefathers. The “pandemic” became a cudgel; a convenient or maybe even pre-planned excuse for Big Tech, Big Government, and the legacy media to impose unfathomable levels of power over our lives. Elections, free speech, bodily autonomy, and the ability to move freely or gather, and our finances were meaningfully curtailed by forces seen and unseen.
However, liberty is on the rocks on multiple fronts. The emergence of Fintech and a resurgence in payment processors like Stripe, Inc. would begin to “improve and automate the use of financial services.” Sadly, part of their improvement strategy has been to target certain people and influence election campaigns using these payment processing platforms to do it.
Benefitting from e-commerce during the “pandemic,” Stripe, Inc. has become “one of the world’s most valuable startups.” The company was launched in 2011 as a payment processing software for online businesses. Today the company is valued at $94.4 billion. 3.1 million active websites use Stripe, according to Backlinko, a marketing blog that specializes in SEO and finance. Stripe supports 32 payment methods including “cards, wallets, bank debts, bank redirects, cash-based vouchers, and buy now, pay later.” Let’s just say that Stripe is no small player in the payment processing market.
Stripe is an openly woke company that dominates control over donor cash for both the RNC and the DNC. Stripe, Inc. has become what should be an unlikely behind-the-scenes and powerful player in the world of politics. Stripe has become environmentally conscious with its investments, perhaps an ideological tell. The company announced in November the launch of a “climate-friendly” initiative. “Stripe Climate now includes Climate Orders, a new product that lets businesses pre-order a specific number of carbon removal tons via Frontier, an advance market commitment(AMC) cofounded by Stripe.”
2024 is an election year and, as such, will often be marked by heated political discourse. If recent history is the guide, our speech will undoubtedly be affected. During an election year or any year for that matter, the last thing Americans should have to worry about is whether their political discourse will be used against them to de-platform and demonetize.
One of the many elite members of the PayPal Mafia, Stripe gladly stepped in as the self-appointed gatekeepers of online political and charitable giving, a lucrative endeavor to say the least. Unfortunately, as online donations became more common, Pro-liberty groups were targeted as “hate groups” and the ability to donate to certain causes was greatly impeded. In some cases, they were deplatformed and demonetized. Most affected by the financial gatekeepers were small, conservative donors. [CDM was deplatformed off Paypal and Stripe in 2021]
Some of this emerged in 2018 during the Trump presidency because, perhaps, the establishment, the uni party, and the digital panopticon realized Trump and his loyal followers would no longer be controlled. In 2018, “the free speech social network Gab was blacklisted by its web host, Joyent, and by Big Tech payment processors PayPal and Stripe,” according to reporting from Breitbart. It seems “hate speech,” is one of the narratives the Left uses to justify the de-platforming of those whose crayons wander outside the lines.
Shortly thereafter, Breitbart reported that Patreon, PayPal, and Stripe were targeting conservative fundraisers, shutting down their ability to raise money with the use of their platforms. Then in 2021, right after the January 6 protests, Stripe announced it would “no longer process payments for President Trump’s website.” It is one thing to censor and suppress speech. It is quite another to demonetize and prevent commerce.
Campaign donations are big money in the Fintech world and it seems some of those donations are being laundered by Silicon Valley types. Chris Gleason who has researched the financial gatekeepers extensively, provided key data and intel to Project Veritas concerning questionable practices by these payment processors. He believes they are actively “laundering donations” to political parties and campaigns. Gleason says the PayPal Mafia is a tightly knit, highly influential insider community of Silicon Valley Fintech execs and companies.
Executives from LinkedIn, Sequoia Capital, CashApp, Stripe, Tesla, and PayPal are some of the players on the list. Gleason says he has found about “$8 billion in highly questionable small donor donations to both WinRed and ActBlue.” He believes he has figured out what he calls “Big Cheat.” It is a RICO enterprise and he says he “has it all mapped out.” The Center for Internet Security is another heavily involved player, according to Gleason:
“The Center for Internet Security is a key player in the election fraud RICO enterprise. They took massive amounts of federal grant money and did nothing to actually help secure our elections. In fact, they helped facilitate the massive fraud and then used censorship to crush anyone who questioned the outcomes.”
“They were initially funded by a Pierre Omidyar organization. Which has played massive rolls in the ActBlue campaign finance RICO enterprise. Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) also is tied to the nationwide ActBlue money laundering RICO enterprise and the various non profits and NGOs connected. Omidyar seed funded the PayPal mafia through the eBay acquisition of PayPal.”
Another overarching but key takeaway is to try to digest what this group believes about following the rules. A blog commenting on the “lessons” learned from PayPal points out that its members are fond of “mastering” the rules and the trends and then finding ways to break them:
It reminds me of Thiel’s approach of seeking the so-called secrets and avoiding the wisdom of crowds, trends, and buzzwords. Keith Rabois, who served executive role at PayPal said:
“The art in most fields is understanding the rule of you do well, precisely, and then knowing when to deviate.“
Such is the attitude of the elites. Rules for thee but not for me. For this group, there is some truth to the saying. Rabois was heard repeating on some podcast a lesson he learned early in his life. Sharing advice from an English teacher, he told the audience, ”Well when you master all the rules, you get to violate them.”
Given Gleason’s investigation of the matter, these Fintech types understand well how to violate campaign financing rules by using small donations to “launder money” for political gain or causes they care about. As such, they fly under the radar of the FEC.
This illegal activity is known as smurfing. In short, according to Investopedia,
“A smurf is a colloquial term for a money launderer who seeks to evade scrutiny from government agencies by breaking up large transactions into a set of smaller transactions that are each below the reporting threshold. Smurfing is an illegal activity that can have serious consequences.”
“They fly under the radar when targeting small donors. Fintech is using gift cards and pre-paid credit cards with certain individuals making multiple identical, small-dollar campaign donations in one day,” says Gleason, “And are completely out of compliance” with ordinary transactional flagging practices. Normally, credit card companies would flag such charges as suspicious and shut the payments down. “The scheme is programmatic through the use of APIs,” says Gleason.
The practice of smurfing was found to be highly successful for candidates like Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia. According to reporting from the Washington Post, “[E]ach raised more than $100 million in two months,” 50 percent of which came from small donors. Gleason, reporting for The Georgia Record and working with Epoch Times journalist Steven Kovac, also followed the money on other well-known political figures, including Fani Willis, Alvin Bragg, and Governor Brian Kemp. The article is a fully rendered illustration of the alleged nationwide RICO operation with all the necessary receipts.
One of the more terrifying aspects of smurfing is the ability to instantly pull back the cash if it happens to go unused. Warnock allegedly did not use all of his funding and the unused funds were pulled back and then allegedly funneled back through ActBlue to be used for other purposes.
The PayPal mafia, according to Gleason, uses a variety of methods and databases including the use of voter registration rolls. They harvest bad or inactive records from the rolls to help launder political and charitable donations. In many cases, unsuspecting elderly individuals are the ones whose identities are being used “as mules for funneling small-dollar donations to candidates,” political charitable causes.
According to reporting from mustreadalaska.com,
“What O’Keefe was able to determine by combing the ActBlue donor lists is that some elderly, fixed-income donors are making thousands of donations a year. They tend to be people who can say they have made one or two donations, but no more.”
“When O’Keefe interviewed them, they had no idea that they were being used by what may be a program that uses their identities as mules for funneling dollars to candidates.”
“One woman was listed by ActBlue as having given $18,000 to the campaign of Joe Biden for president. She was shocked by the revelation and said that she would certainly have made such a donation, had she had that kind of money, but she did not have that level of disposable income.”
In general, censoring and demonetization based on political affiliation is an ongoing concern, despite our best efforts to combat these unconstitutional practices. The latest hit arrived in mid-January, detailed in a letter sent by Rep. Jim Jordan to the former Director Noah Bishoff of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Jordan asked Bishoff why “FinCEN distributed materials to financial institutions that, among other things, outline the “typologies” of various persons of interest” who might be using certain search terms like “Trump” and “MAGA” in connection with their purchases.
FinCEN, says Jordan, suggested the search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) to “warn” financial institutions of “extremism” indicators for a variety of types of purchases. In other words, Jordan continues, “FinCen urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”
Likewise, Nebraska’s state treasurer, John Murante warned of the financial gatekeeping in March 2023. JPMorgan Chase wrote Murante, used the practice of “red-dotting,” a process whereby “Chase employees can flag customers for cancelation based on their perceived reputational or social risk.” Chase “denied payments or canceled accounts associated with people and organizations—such as Ambassador Sam Brownback, the Arkansas Family Council, Defense of Liberty, and retired general Michael Flynn, Jr.—for holding mainstream American views.
Does anyone remember the 2022 attacks on the Freedom Truckers in Canada? Well, the truckers and their supporters faced alarming levels of personal and monetary censoring. A small business in Ottawa was “inundated with hatred and threats of violence” for her $250 donation to the Canadian truckers. The business was one of many that was targeted. The popular crowdfunding platform GoFundMe removed its donation page that accepted donations in support of the truckers. The removal was consequential too. It “prevented the receipt of $10 million in donations, claiming the movement violated its terms of service,” according to a Feb. 5, 2022 National Review column.
Stripe and other third-party payment processors are wading into uncharted territory when they infringe on one’s ability to speak or donate freely. The fact that the powerful PayPal mafia is involved at all in influencing where the money goes is troubling, to say the least. The 2024 election is already in motion. The need for alternative payment platforms is dire.