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Luetkemeyer Files Bill to End Operation Choke Point-Style Attacks on Private Sector

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Washington, Jun 26 | comments
Seeking to put an end to government attempts to shut down entire portions of the private sector based on what it deems to be morally unacceptable, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today filed legislation to restore the balance between financial institutions and regulators and protect private industry from the organized bureaucratic intimidation and regulation underway by the Obama Administration.
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Seeking to put an end to government attempts to shut down entire portions of the private sector based on what it deems to be morally unacceptable, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today filed legislation to restore the balance between financial institutions and regulators and protect private industry from the organized bureaucratic intimidation and regulation underway by the Obama Administration.

Luetkemeyer’s legislation would ensure that existing laws are interpreted as intended, overzealous and inappropriate use of regulatory and enforcement tools is curbed, and financial institutions have the security and ability to return to the business of offering products and services to a variety of industries including ammunition sales, fireworks sales and pharmaceutical sales. Luetkemeyer has led the national charge against Operation Choke Point since learning that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) loaned examiners to the DOJ in a hostile attempt to take down non-depository lenders they believe have no moral right to exist.  

“In an effort to drive legally-operating, licensed and regulated companies out of business, federal banking regulators in cahoots with the Department of Justice (DOJ) are placing so much regulatory pressure on financial institutions that certain businesses not viewed favorably by the Attorney General and the Administration are eventually choked-off from the financial services they need to survive. That notion goes against the very nature of our free market system,” Luetkemeyer said. “It is time to stop these backdoor attempts by government bureaucrats to blackmail and threaten businesses simply because they morally object to entire sectors of our economy.”

Recently, Luetkemeyer also successfully passed an amendment in the House that would cut off funding for Operation Choke Point for a year while the House Oversight Committee has also launched an investigation into the government operation.   

Luetkemeyer’s bill, meanwhile, creates a new safe-harbor for financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, to promote nondiscriminatory access to financial products and services provided the merchant is licensed, registered as a money services business, or have obtained a reasoned legal opinion demonstrating the legality of the merchant’s business. The safe-harbor does not require a financial institution to do business with any merchant and does not place the burden of determining the legality of business with the financial institution. The legislation also seeks to reign in the abusive misuse of DOJ subpoena authority by changing the manner in which DOJ can seek a subpoena under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989.

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