The House has cut the purse strings on the rogue policy Operation Choke Point, which discriminated against businesses the Obama administration seemed determined to destroy, like gun stores, ammo dealers, even fireworks venders.
The defunding was accomplished by several lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, for targeting entire legal industries without clear and convincing evidence of wrongdoing.
The brainchild of former Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department, the operation ordered federal regulators to intimidate banks into shutting down financial accounts and to cease doing business with 30 different industries.
Other legally licensed merchants the government wanted blackballed were coin dealers, drug paraphernalia, lottery sales, online gambling, payday loans, pharmaceutical sales, and tobacco sales.
In a letter urging that the government sting operation be dismantled, Tipton and fellow lawmakers said that federal employees had “inappropriately cut off certain legal industries from the financial service sector based not on risk posed by those industries but on personal objections of federal government employees.”
There is little doubt that some FDIC and (Justice Department) officials have abused their authority to advance a personal agenda. Despite knowledge and admission of the program by both the FDIC and DOJ, and evidence of internal debates over its legitimacy, Operation Choke Point continues.
To be clear, we fully support and applaud the efforts to remove fraud from the financial system. Nevertheless, we feel the targeting of entire legal industries without clear and convincing evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct is highly inappropriate.
The language defunding Operation Choke Point was included in the Justice Department’s spending bill for the next fiscal year.