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Banks face GOP blowback over anti-gun policies

Ted Cruz.
Sen. Ted Cruz. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Bank of America and Citigroup are facing blowback from Republican politicians after using their financial influence to support gun restrictions and discourage the spread of assault weapons.

Why it matters: The backlash shows how private-sector gun control measures can put the companies under just as much pressure as politicians who try to restrict guns through new laws.

The details: Citigroup imposed new gun control policies on its clients, like age restrictions and background checks, while Bank of America said it would stop lending money to clients who manufacture military-style assault weapons.

  • They joined a list of companies that adopted pro-gun control policies after the Parkland shooting.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz harshly criticized the banks on Friday, saying Texas citizens "appear to have a stronger commitment to protecting our constitutional liberties than do your boardrooms," the Dallas Morning News reported.
  • Michael Piwowar, a Republican appointee to the Securities and Exchange Commission, lambasted Citigroup executives in a meeting. Bloomberg reports Piwowar insinuated the bank would "have trouble finding the votes" at the SEC to "ease regulations on derivatives and proprietary trading."
  • Sen. John Kennedy said in April, per Bloomberg, that he "planned to file a complain...against the two banks for their 'offensive' conduct.'"
  • Texas Reps. Lamar Smith and Louie Gohmert called for the cancellation of a $700 billion contract last month between Citigroup and the General Services Administration, the Dallas Morning News reports. "We don't have to reward companies with our business that are trying to take away Second Amendment Rights," Gohmert said.