Anarcho-Tyranny in Action

In a recent column, Chuck Baldwin (lately nominated as the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate) pointed to something ominous that was largely ignored in the media reporting on the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal.  Spitzer had been found out because of “suspicious” financial transactions his bank reported to the authorities.  Dr. Baldwin (who is pastor of a Baptist church in Pensacola, Florida, and rightly disapproves of Spitzer’s behavior), citing a USA Today report by Thomas Frank, noted that “federal police agencies are secretly looking at the financial transactions of the American people all the time.”

Frank wrote that

Each year, federal agents peek at the financial transactions of millions of Americans—without their knowledge.  The same type of information that raised suspicions about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is reviewed every day by authorities to find traces of money laundering, check fraud, identity theft or any crime that may involve a financial institution. . . . The Treasury Department’s database now contains records of more than 100 million financial transactions going back to at least 1996. . . . Financial institutions have long been required to report cash transactions over $10,000.  Those reports—simple notices of a deposit or withdrawal—account for more than 90% of the records the enforcement network...

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