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Miyares joins Republican AG effort to tell Bank of America who it needs to do business with

Chris Graham
jason miyares
Jason Miyares. (© The Old Major – Shutterstock)

A group of Republican AGs, citing reports from far-right outlets, wants Bank of America to remove prohibitions on “intolerance” and “hate” from its online banking service agreement.

The AGs, including Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, hyped a letter sent to Bank of America on Tuesday also demanding that the bank “provide a written report about its account policies and practices” and “update its terms of service to state that it does not discriminate against customers for their religious or political views or speech,” according to a press release that went out Tuesday morning.

The AGs claim that Bank of America has denied services to gun manufacturers, fossil fuel producers, and contractors for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The letter also includes the claim that Bank of America canceled the accounts of Christian ministry groups, saying one such group that trains pastors is “operating a business type we have chosen not to service.”

Bank of America issued a statement denying the claims.

Rhetorical question: even if Bank of America is doing what is claimed, how would that be any different than, oh, I dunno, a Christian photographer not wanting to shoot a wedding for an LGBTQ+ couple?

“Bank of America’s blatant discrimination against account holders whose political and religious ideologies don’t align with its own is appalling and un-American,” Miyares said in a statement issued by his taxpayer-funded press office.

“As attorney general, I will protect the constitutional liberties of all Virginians. Bank of America should clean up its act or prepare to reckon with potential litigation,” Miyares said.

There’s your answer: Miyares would obviously side with the gay couple.

Hold on.

Being told that, maybe not.

“The Supreme Court made clear that the government cannot compel people like Mr. Updegrove to speak contrary to their conscience. As attorney general, my highest duty is to the federal Constitution.”

That was Miyares in November defending his decision to side with a Fairfax County photographer who had sued the state seeking protection from having to comply with the Virginia Values Act, a landmark 2020 law that extended wide-ranging protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

The photographer, a guy named Bob Updegrove, hadn’t even faced having to turn down a gay couple that might have tried to hire him; he just wanted to be able to say that he wouldn’t do so on the website promoting his business.

So, it’s OK for a wedding photographer to refuse to do business with people based on his beliefs, and our AG is on his side because the government can’t compel him to speak contrary to his conscience.

But if a bank doesn’t want to do business with a gun manufacturer, fossil fuel company or a right-wing religious group, it’s litigation time.

Got it.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].