COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, along with 19 other state attorneys general, have sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department in opposition to a new federal policy that would provide the federal government with access to nearly every American’s bank account and financial transaction information.
“This makes the IRS more powerful than the police — even the cops have to at least issue a subpoena. Even the police have to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion before they can ‘stop-and-frisk.’ ” Yost said. “This anti-American bill allows real-time spying by the government on law-abiding citizens — all of us, all the time. It must not become law.”
In the letter, the attorneys general argue that banks across the country will have to transform the way in which they conduct business in order to comply with the proposed reporting requirements, including investing significant amounts of money in data collection and other systems. The letter argues that consumers will be punished in many ways, as banks would likely pass on costs in the form of fees or higher interest rates, not to mention the centralized storage of sensitive information would provide cyber criminals with an additional target to exploit with information about nearly every American.
The group says that if stopping financial criminals or punishing those who evade taxes is the goal of the administration, they will gladly join to find the right solutions based on the rule of law, but violating the rights of virtually every American with a bank account is not the answer.
In addition to Ohio, the coalition also includes the attorneys general of the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.