“Operation Choke Point” should scare every American, left and right!

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from The Gray Area:

Operation Choke Point is one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member. Operating without legal authority and guided by a political agenda, unelected officials at the DOJ are discouraging banks from providing basic banking services … to lawful businesses simply because they don’t like them,” said William M. Isaac, former chairman of the FDIC.

This quote very succinctly states the problem. We have a politically motivated program, run by government bureaucrats, highly secretive, without Congressional legislation or oversight, targeting lawful business as they supposedly go after unlawful businesses.

Freedom from such government overreach and oppression is the very definition of what this country was designed to eliminate and has been successful at doing so for 238 years! Surely such a thing couldn’t happen here in the United States of America!

The Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point” initiative has been shrouded in secrecy, but now it is starting to come to light. It is so named because through strangling the providers of financial services to targeted industries, which includes such things as ammunition sales, escort services, get-quick-rich schemes, on-line gambling, pornography, “racist materials” and payday loans, the government can “choke off” the oxygen (money) needed for these industries to survive. Without an ability to process payments, the businesses – especially online vendors — cannot survive.

Frank Keating of the American Bankers Association complained in a Wall Street Journal Op-ED that “Operation Choke Point,” is “asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like. Banks must then “choke off” those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.

The Obama Administration is using the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to force banks to cancel credit for America’s Gun Industry. The FDIC has extensive supervisory and examination authority over banks and the many federal laws that banks must follow. By introducing a new, subjective criteria,”reputational risk”, the FDIC can determine on its own, that what they don’t like is risky.

As the Washington Times reported a number of firearm businesses have seen a sudden disruption of their banking relationships. A Massachusetts gun seller says it’s the latest victim of a federal multi-agency task force that is squeezing financing sources for industries deemed “high-risk” by the Obama administration, such as porn stores, drug paraphernalia shops and gun merchants. Powderhorn Outfitters, which sells firearms, archery gear and fishing equipment in Hyannis, Massachusetts, posted in an online forum this week that its longtime bank — TD Bank — had suddenly dropped its account. According to Powderhorn’s owner, the bank manager said , “Your credit history is great, but the bank is turning you down because you sell guns.

Whether you are for guns or not, you have got to see the dangerous precedent of such a program. In principle, of course, the logic of Operation Choke Point could be extended to groups not currently targeted. Notably absent from the FDIC’s hit list, for example, are abortion clinics, radical environmental groups, or, well, marijuana shops, for that matter. IRS officials must already be salivating about ways to apply Operation Choke Point to tea party groups.

The Administration’s supporters, and those who think the Constitution is out of date, say this concern is overblown. Stuart Delery, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division, told lawmakers that the department’s “policy is to investigate specific unlawful conduct based on evidence that consumers are being defrauded, not to target whole industries or businesses acting lawfully.”

The House of Representatives held two hearings last week on the legality of “Operation Choke Point”. The July 17th House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the legality of DOJ overreach. Letters have poured in from company owners in support of these suspicions, noting startling cases where the DOJ reportedly has directly strong-armed banks into dropping clients not engaging in fraud.

Pay attention to the developments from these hearings. In addition, begin to add up similar complaints over government overreach in other parts of American society, such as: NSA, IRS, HHS Shakedown, executive orders, Cabinet members making political donation requests, recess appointments, actions revealing a disdain for the Constitution, the passing of Obamacare, war on religion, media censorship, being fired for not being “politically correct”, and others. Add to this the stated goal of certain radical leftists to ‘fundamentally change this country”, create a new “living constitution”, and “redistribute wealth” and it is not hard to see the pattern.