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Texas AG says Citigroup policy 'discriminates' against firearms industry

A man walks by a Citibank branch at the U.S. bank Citigroup world headquarters on Park Avenue, in New York in 2008.
Emmanuel Dunand
/
AFP/Getty Images
A man walks by a Citibank branch at the U.S. bank Citigroup world headquarters on Park Avenue, in New York in 2008.

Citibank's parent company Citigroup's policies discriminate against the firearms industry, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office wrote in a letter that lays out potential financial consequences for the corporation.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Leslie Brock with the AG's Public Finance Division wrote that Citigroup's policy on firearm sales for its clients is unrelated to the traditional business interests of customers and is "based solely on an entity’s or association’s status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association."

Citigroup's policy, enacted in 2018, prohibits the sale of firearms to anyone who hasn't passed a background check or is under 21. It also prohibits the sale of bump stocks or high-capacity magazines, which can make a semi-automatic weapon fire faster.

That announcement came after 17 people died in a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

At issue is whether such a policy violates Senate Bill 19, a Republican-backed bill passed in 2021 that seeks to prevent the government from working with companies who discriminate against the firearms industry.

As a result of its determination, the Attorney General's office won't approve any of Citigroup's municipal bond underwriting. That means Citigroup, which said it has financed $16.5 billion in bonds for the State of Texas, may no longer be in a position to underwrite those bonds.

A Citigroup spokesperson wrote in a statement the company is "disappointed" in the decision and believes it is in compliance with Texas law.

Paxton's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Got a tip? Email Toluwani Osibamowo at tosibamowo@kera.org.

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Toluwani Osibamowo