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Department of Justice Announces it Will End Operation Choke Point Program

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Washington, August 18, 2017 | comments
Following a letter sent by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), along with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Judiciary Subcommittee Chairmen Tom Marino and Darrel Issa, sent to multiple federal agencies, the Department of Justice announced it will end Operation Choke Point.
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Following a letter sent by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), along with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Judiciary Subcommittee Chairmen Tom Marino and Darrel Issa, sent to multiple federal agencies, the Department of Justice announced it will end Operation Choke Point.

“After years of fighting against the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point initiative, I applaud President Trump’s Department of Justice for ending this ill-advised program,” Luetkemeyer said. “I want to thank Chairmen Hensarling and Goodlatte and Reps. Marino and Issa for their support. While I am pleased the Department of Justice has stood up and made the right decision, it is my hope the federal banking regulators follow suit without delay. I will continue my efforts in the House of Representatives to ensure my bill, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, will be signed into law so that future administration’s will not have the opportunity to negatively impact individuals and legal businesses through this unprecedented initiative.”

Operation Choke Point was an Obama Administration initiative led by the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that destroyed legitimate businesses to which the Administration was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.

H.R. 2706, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would dictate that agencies such as the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others, could not 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 once broad interpretation of the law is limited and the original intent of the statute is restored. 

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