Financial institutions are beginning to play favorites. It is not only unfair, it may also be illegal.
A letter from House Republicans indicates they will likely investigate PayPal over a policy that would have penalized users $2,500 if they "promote misinformation" or spread "objectionable material," the Free Press reported. The policy was quickly reversed after public blowback.
PayPal released an "Acceptable Use Policy" on Oct. 8 that stipulated users could face fines directly taken from their accounts if they make transactions with entities that "are objectionable" or create content "otherwise unfit for publication." The company said it would impose these fines at its "sole discretion."
PayPal quickly retracted the policy after the news spread and users canceled their accounts, but lawmakers have pushed for answers. Republican members from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Financial Services Committee sent 15 queries to the company demanding answers.
The questions posed to PayPal included whether this policy was a missive from President Joe Biden's administration as well as who drafted and who authorized it. "As a leading financial technology company, it is concerning that a user agreement that contemplates the restriction of free speech was uploaded and disseminated to PayPal users -– even if in error," the letter said.
The letter's authors included Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina. Both are ranking members on the two committees represented in the letter.
The role of Big Tech in censoring speech has become a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill. These private companies have repeatedly done the bidding of government entities, turning this entanglement into a First Amendment issue due to involvement with the feds.
Although PayPal has backed off this time, other high-profile cancellations from financial institutions against conservatives and their movement are problematic. It's only a matter of time before this becomes accepted practice.