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House Passes Luetkemeyer Bill to Bring an End to Operation Choke Point

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Washington, February 4, 2016 | comments
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act:
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U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act:

“After years of remaining steadfast in bringing an end to Operation Choke Point, I am proud that the majority of my colleagues today joined me in casting their votes to ensure this program is brought to a halt and that greater transparency is achieved. Over the past couple of years I have introduced legislation, held meetings with and sent letters to Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal banking regulatory officials, and most of all, relentlessly strove to help those who have been negatively impacted by this illegal initiative. Together, the first step has been taken to ensure that federal banking agencies and DOJ can no longer intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to licensed, legally-operating businesses that have been targeted not because of potential wrongdoing, but because of personal and political motivation.”

The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would dictate that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others, cannot request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason. Any account termination requests or orders would be required to be made in writing and rely on information other than reputational risk. In addition, the legislation strikes the word “affecting” in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), replacing it with “by” or “against.” This is to ensure that the Department of Justice’s broad interpretation of the law is limited and the original intent of the statute is restored.

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