Event Banner

SEC will allow conservative shareholders to investigate PayPal for viewpoint discrimination against its customers


“Policies like these place customers and clients at risk of being ‘debanked’ simply because a company employee disagrees with their point of view on any number of contentious social issues….But more to the point, it is a serious affront to public trust and a real threat to the ability of American citizens to freely live and work according to their deeply held convictions.”


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected the attempt by PayPal Holdings Inc. to dodge accountability and will allow a shareholder-proposed investigation into PayPal’s habitual political and religious discrimination against its customers to go forward.

Quick Facts

Over the last few years, PayPal has taken measures to shut down millions of accounts that don’t adhere to the company’s ideology.

In September 2022, PayPal shut down the account of a parents’ group who fought to keep schools open during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the “nature of [their] activities.” This move came not long after PayPal canceled British conservative commentator Toby Young’s organization Free Speech Union, as well as his news site The Daily Sceptic. 

That same month, PayPal announced a policy update to its Acceptable Use Policies which would charge users up to $2,500 if they participated in “banned activity” such as “promot[ing] misinformation” or “hate.”  After facing public pressure, the company revoked the prohibition on the promotion of misinformation in October of 2022, but it still imposes the $2,500 fine on users who engage in “prohibited activities,” including “the promotion of hate…or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.”

Now, the SEC is pressing PayPal to reveal its internal workings to shareholders to prove whether or not the company is complicit in political and religious discrimination against users.

On April 10, the SEC notified PayPal that it has approved a proposal to shareholders by the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) to “conduct an evaluation and issue a report within the next year evaluating how it oversees risks related to discrimination against individuals based on their race, color, religion (including religious views), sex, national origin, or political views, and whether such discrimination may impact individuals’ exercise of their constitutionally protected civil rights.”

The NCPPR proposal stated,

“Companies that provide banking or financial services are essential pillars of the marketplace. On account of their unique and pivotal role in America’s economy, many federal and state laws already prohibit them from discriminating when providing financial services to the public. And the UN Declaration of Human Rights, consistent with many other laws and the U.S. Constitution, recognizes that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’”

PayPal pushed back, arguing that viewpoint discrimination, or showing favor to one viewpoint over others, is simply a part of their “ordinary business operations.” The company asserted that shareholders should not even consider NCPPR’s request as it seeks to “‘micro-manage’ the company by probing too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders, as a group, would not be in a position to make an informed judgment.”

In response, the SEC affirmed that the proposal “transcends ordinary business matters.”

Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel and senior vice president for corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), commented on the matter by emphasizing that it is necessary for PayPal to address these claims. He said,

“Major corporations like PayPal shouldn’t be hiding from their shareholders, and the SEC’s decision is a much-needed step toward transparency. PayPal needs to rebuild trust with its shareholders and clients, but that can’t happen unless it answers basic questions about treating everyone equally regardless of their political or religious views. PayPal needs to address its recent track record of threatening the fundamental freedoms of its customers and implement the best practices identified by the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, the first comprehensive benchmark measuring corporate respect for free speech and religious freedom.”

In addition, 60 financial professionals signed the Statement on Debanking and Free Speech to encourage various financial groups to address the implications of “debanking” consumers. In the statement, the group argued that the use of overly broad language in the company’s terms of service “gives staff carte blanche authority to deny or restrict service for vague, arbitrary, or viewpoint-based reasons.”

The statement read:

“What these vague, unspecified terms mean in practice is subject to the arbitrary interpretation of each of your companies, or any one of thousands of employees charged with enforcing them. Policies like these place customers and clients at risk of being ‘debanked’ simply because a company employee disagrees with their point of view on any number of contentious social issues. And they also risk giving fringe activists and governments a foothold to demand that private financial institutions deny service under the sweeping, unfettered discretion that such policies provide.”

It continued, “But more to the point, it is a serious affront to public trust and a real threat to the ability of American citizens to freely live and work according to their deeply held convictions.”

The SEC has not only denied PayPal’s appeal to reject the proposal, but it has also supplied financial giant JPMorgan Chase with a similar ruling regarding alleged political and religious discrimination.

The discriminatory actions by PayPal are troubling, but they are not uncommon. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, GoFundMe, Capital One, and Visa are just a few other financial institutions that have made attempts to “debank” Americans on the basis of their political and religious views.

The actions of these organizations are in lock-step with ESG standards that cater to the global billionaire elites trying to call the shots. As a result, Americans are likely wondering if and how they can continue to participate in the public economy when their trusted financial institution or banking system could effectively rob them of their means to maintain an account and buy and sell goods and services if they are found to hold an opinion that isn’t approved by the institution.

It is not surprising to anyone who has kept a close eye on the rising financial cancel culture being waged against customers, but it is, nonetheless, concerning.

The next development to watch out for is FedNow, which was established by the Federal Reserve and is set to take place in July 2023. If approved, it will essentially curtail the need for a centralized banking system and instead provide banks and credit unions a means to transfer funds for individuals and businesses without monitoring transactions for violations of company policy; instead, the government will monitor the transactions for them.

It’s a terrifying reality that looms ahead of us in the coming months, and thankfully, there are still competent and honest people of integrity working for organizations like ADF and NCPPR who will defend the constitutional freedoms of Americans to possess opinions and values that are different from the state and their corporate proxies.

In some ways, it is encouraging to know that there are people on our side, but it’s also terrifying to realize that the corporate-state-media alliance has become such a juggernaut that there may not be anything Americans can do to stop the tyranny.

Regardless, Christians will continue to have a duty to be good stewards of their finances and their families. Proverbs 3:6 commands us to

“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all you produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

We should also be reminded that all that we have belongs to God and that regardless of what the government does, He is faithful to provide for us.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.