Tag Archives: Operation Choke Point

Republicans criticize Obama administration for program attacking legal businesses

Fascists: At House hearings yesterday Republican congressmen attacked the FDIC for creating a program that encouraged banks to cease any dealings with businesses the Obama administration happened to dislike.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) called on a top banking regulator to fire top employees or step down himself after certain businesses saw their accounts shuttered as part of a government program known as “Operation Choke Point.” Banking regulators have since walked back guidance that was interpreted by some as calling for banks to halt operations with entire types of businesses, but GOP lawmakers say regulators that pushed that notion still need to be held accountable. “I fear that activists at the Department of Justice and [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] are abusing their power and authority,” said Duffy. “They’re weaponizing government to meet their ideological beliefs.”

Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, told lawmakers Tuesday that bank examiners had misinterpreted regulatory guidance to suggest that entire categories of businesses should be barred from traditional banking services. He said earlier guidance outlining high-risk areas had been “misunderstood,” leading examiners to believe that banks should not be providing services to certain types of businesses, like payday lenders and firearms dealers. [emphasis mine]

The FDIC simply decided that certain legal businesses, specifically businesses liberals in the Obama administration were strongly hostile to, should be barred from access to banks. They weren’t illegal. They simply were disliked by liberals. The result was that many of these businesses were forced to shut down.

This quote best illustrates who was and continues to be willing to use the power of government to attack legal businesses they happen to dislike:

But Duffy accused Gruenberg of “slow walking” the matter, having failed to punish FDIC employees that pushed banks to cut services with certain industries. He went so far as to suggest that if Gruenberg did not punish those employees, he should step down as chief regulator. “I don’t think you want to hold them accountable,” said Duffy. “If you can’t go after the problem in the FDIC…you have no place as the chairman.”

For their part, Democrats largely defended the FDIC as attempting to properly implement policy and protect the banking sector.

So, the Democrats think it’s a good idea. Interestingly, Democrats took an almost identical position in regards to the IRS harassment of conservatives. To me, it seems kind of fascist. But who am I to say?

More harrassment of opponents by the Obama administration

How the Obama Justice Department strong-arms banks to harass legal businesses it doesn’t like.

A Justice Department fraud prevention program came under fire Thursday for allegedly morphing into actively pressuring banks to deny financial services to businesses for political reasons.

Operation Choke Point functions as a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and various other federal agencies which deal with bank regulations, specifically the Treasury and the SEC. The objective of the project is to choke-off fraudulent businesses from accessing financial services, in an effort to protect consumers.

The controversy, however, is over allegations that the DOJ is pressuring financial institutions to decline doing business with so-called “high risk” industries which line up squarely against the political leanings of the current administration. These businesses include ammunition sales, payday loans, pornography, fireworks companies, and others—24 industries in total, as listed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Much of the news today and yesterday has been about the Malaysian plane shot down over the Ukraine. Though Obama’s response was pitiful, I find this story above much more significant as it illustrates bluntly this administration’s strong misuse of power for political ends.