The “Defense of Liberty” dinner has been a festive and elite event for the last 10 years. Hosted by USMC Veteran Paul Curtman, the event has been a celebration of various things American; things many of our Veterans can get behind, too. Paul served as an Infantry squad leader during OEF, then moved on to the Missouri House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. It was during this time where the Defense of Liberty dinner came about as well as the Defense of Liberty PAC in 2017 between Curtman and Missouri State Senator Bill Eigel. The two would co-host the events together.
While largely conservative, or at least right-of-center, politicians attended these events, other high-profile guests would make appearances as well. Most recently in August 2021, Candice Owens was a special guest. Her attendance made the event truly special as over 1,200 people were in attendance. The decision was made to host another in December 2021, with Donald Trump Jr. as the special guest of the evening.
With tickets going on sale in late October, there was not much time to get the plans made and the ball rolling. Payments would need to be processed, and as per usual, WePay would be the merchant to handle the payments. A subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase/Chase Banks, they had worked with the group in years past with nothing but success. Suddenly, about two weeks ago, the conservative group was informed that more documentation would be needed. Then, that was suddenly not good enough for WePay. The refunds would be issued, and their business was no longer welcomed.
November 9th is when the official notice severing ties was issued. WePay wrote saying “It seems you’re using WePay Payments for one or more of the activities prohibited by our terms of service. More specifically: Per our terms of service, we are unable to process for hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime, or items or activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others regarding the same.” Go ahead; read that again.
Curtman has been nothing but vocal about this unfair treatment and persecution, and now has Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick fighting on his behalf as well. In a letter to Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Fitzpatrick challenged the decision. He stated that “The Defense of Liberty Speaker Series began over a decade ago and has hosted conservative speakers from a variety of backgrounds in eight public events, including Candace Owens, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, and Congressman Jason Smith among others. In that ten-year history, there have been no incidents that fit the description of prohibited activities listed by WePay.”
While that certainly is true, Fitzpatrick is only asking for what is right. “Despite the accusation of wrongdoing and suspension of services, WePay has thus far failed to provide any additional information or specifics about how the group or this event fall into any of these troubling categories. Consequently, the only reasonable conclusion is the largest bank in the United States, JP Morgan Chase, has made it its policy to discriminate against its customers based on their political ideology.”
It’s not that difficult to give the people access to the events they want to attend, and suddenly WePay did a complete 180; they had restored their accounts and claimed it was an oversight, specifying that it wasn’t political. Too little too late; they have already moved on and will be hosting the next event without Chase. This is enough cancel culture. Merchants have already been chasing after gun shops…and now politicians looking to do fundraisers, too?