Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Members of Congress Ask Inspectors General of DOJ, FDIC to Investigate Operation Chokepoint

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coalitions of congressional representatives have issued letters over the past two Thursdays requesting internal investigators at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to examine Operation Choke Point (OPC) and any officials and staff involved in the program.

The effort, led by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer  (R-Mo.), characterizes Operation Choke Point as “a DOJ-initiated effort that aims to force businesses, many of which are licensed and legally-operating, out of the financial service space and therefore, out of business.” Its targets include firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers.

Referencing the findings of a report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (which we reported on here), the letters charge DOJ with an “egregious abuse of power.”  Specifically, they claim that the agency has exceeded its mandate and authority under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), the claimed basis for OPC. “There is no doubt in our minds,” the letters state, that FDIC and DOJ officials “have abused their authority” to advance personal and political agendas.

The first letter was sent on October 16 to Michael Horowitz, DOJ Inspector General, and Robin Ashton, counsel for DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility. It details evidence that DOJ officials, despite representations to Congress that OPC was focused on combating consumer fraud, knew the program was “forcing legally-operating businesses out of the financial services space.” The letter even quotes one DOJ lawyer as referring to this outcome as a “collateral benefit” of the program. It also refers to DOJ documents obtained by Congress that indicate senior staff had informed the attorney general himself that OPC was having a detrimental impact on legitimate businesses and causing banks to drop entire lines of business.

The second letter, sent on Thursday to FDIC acting inspector general Fred W. Givens , suggests that FDIC’s involvement in the operation conflicts with its “primary mission” to “protect the safety and soundness of our nation’s financial institutions.”  This is because the operation forces “legitimate customers from banks, causing not only damage to those customers but also driving revenue from the banks themselves.”

The letter goes on to detail FDIC’s “troubling” connection to OPC through a list of “high risk merchants and activities” that the chief of FDIC’s Division of Risk Management Supervision claimed in a presentation to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council warranted “heightened scrutiny.” Such merchant categories included those engaged in firearm and ammunition sales. The letter recounts that FDIC provided no explanation to congressional investigators for the bases on which the businesses were listed or why illegal activities, such as Ponzi Schemes, were listed alongside legitimate businesses such as firearm sales and coin dealing. “It is beyond worrisome,” the letter states, “that DOJ’s radical interpretation and application of FIRREA … has been coordinated through and reinforced by FDIC staff.”

Thursday’s letter additionally explains how testimony provided by FDIC general counsel Richard J. Osterman at a July hearing of the House Financial Services Committee conflicted with correspondence from an FDIC regional director. Contrary to Osterman’s statements at the hearing insisting that the FDIC was not pressuring banks to sever relationships with disfavored types of merchants, the regional director’s correspondence stated that FDIC condemns relationships with specific industries. Additional evidence obtained by congressional investigators, according to Thursday’s letter, “clearly indicates that specific industries are targeted by Operation Choke Point” with “the assistance of FDIC examiners and senior officials.” The letter therefore concludes that “Congress has received false testimony from a senior FDIC official.”

Both letters ask the officials to whom they are addressed to keep Congress informed of their investigative efforts, to the extent possible. They also state that if the signatories do not hear from the investigators by November 12, 2014, they expect to meet with them in person to “directly express [their] concerns.”

The October letters are merely the latest attempts by members of Congress to shed light on and curb the abuses of Operation Choke Point.  The NRA heartily supports these efforts and thanks the Rep. Luetkemeyer and his fellow signatories for pressing for answers on yet another scandal that continues to taint DOJ, even as attorney general Eric Holder prepares to exit his post.

TRENDING NOW
Illinois: House Passes Bill for Firearm Surrender Without Due Process

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Illinois: House Passes Bill for Firearm Surrender Without Due Process

On May 23rd, the Illinois state House of Representatives voted 80-32 to pass House Amendment 2 to House Bill 2354 to allow Second Amendment rights to be revoked without due process.  HA 2 to HB 2354 now ...

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America's Firearms Industry, National Security

News  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America's Firearms Industry, National Security

On Thursday, the Trump Administration published two rulemakings designed to enhance the competitiveness of American companies in the firearms and ammunition sectors, remove burdens for small businesses, and modernize export controls for the post-Cold War ...

Massachusetts: Anti-Second Amendment Bills Rolled into Committee Substitute

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Massachusetts: Anti-Second Amendment Bills Rolled into Committee Substitute

On May 23rd, the Massachusetts state House of Representatives will be voting on House Bill 4517, which would allow firearms to be seized from individuals following baseless accusations without proper due process.

Washington: NRA Files Legal Challenge Against Misleading Ballot Title for Gun Control Initiative

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Washington: NRA Files Legal Challenge Against Misleading Ballot Title for Gun Control Initiative

Yesterday, NRA filed a legal challenge in the Thurston County Superior Court objecting to the misleading and inadequate ballot title for Initiative 1639, which seeks to further restrict the Second Amendment rights of Washington's law-abiding citizens.  The Thurston ...

Hard Times for Dick's as Second Amendment Supporters Respond to Company’s Anti-Gun Bent

Hunting  

News  

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hard Times for Dick's as Second Amendment Supporters Respond to Company’s Anti-Gun Bent

We have recently been reporting on the bizarre anti-gun activism of one of the nation’s larger firearm retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods and its affiliated Field & Stream stores. First, the company announced it would stop selling most centerfire semi-automatic ...

Gun Rights Were Expanded: Once Again, No Problems

News  

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Gun Rights Were Expanded: Once Again, No Problems

As readers of our legislative alerts are only too aware, whenever NRA efforts to create more freedoms for law-abiding gun owners, anti-gun lawmakers and activists immediately begin repeating their doom-and-gloom mantra that the streets will ...

Anti-gun Political Correctness Imperils Monument to Medal of Honor Recipient

News  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Anti-gun Political Correctness Imperils Monument to Medal of Honor Recipient

As difficult as it may seem, anti-gun tactics have reached a pathetic new low. We regret to report that some on the anti-gun left, in their fanatical intolerance of all things firearms, now find it ...

West Coast Plutocrats Target Washington State Gun Owners… Again

Friday, May 25, 2018

West Coast Plutocrats Target Washington State Gun Owners… Again

Washington State’s would-be oligarchs are attempting to buy Evergreen Staters’ rights again. Four years after West Coast elites dumped $10 million into the campaign for Initiative 594, which criminalized the private transfer of firearms, some ...

Illinois: Gun Control Bills to be Heard This Week

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Illinois: Gun Control Bills to be Heard This Week

The Illinois state House of Representatives can take action any day on House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 2580 to expand the 72 hour waiting period to all firearms.  On May 24th, the Illinois state ...

Illinois: House Considering New Bill to Shut Down Your Gun Store

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Illinois: House Considering New Bill to Shut Down Your Gun Store

Today, the Illinois state House Judiciary-Criminal Committee voted 8-3 to pass Senate Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 337, which would shut down your local gun stores with onerous red tape and regulations.  Governor Bruce Rauner ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.