What If Operation Choke Point Was Used Against Progressive-Friendly Businesses?

Lawrence Meyers CEO, PDL Capital
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Since 2013, the DOJ and FDIC have secretly advanced a program known as “Operation Choke Point.” Ostensibly created to choke off banking access to businesses with a high possibility for fraud and money-laundering, its true purpose was to kill businesses that the Obama administration and its liberal supporters simply didn’t like.

Fortunately, the GOP is working to unravel Operation Choke Point, along with some realistic Democrats who understand that such an abuse of power can be used by a Republican administration as well.

Operation Choke Point is very simple. The DOJ and/or FDIC call up the major banks and threaten them with extensive and expensive audits, as well as excessive fines, if they continue to do business with any industry the administration doesn’t like. Payment processors that handle transactions with any distasteful businesses can also be shut down.

There is no oversight and no accountability to Operation Choke Point. As described in a February 4, 2014 letter from the American Bankers Association to the DOJ, the ABA was furious that accounts could be shut down “without formal enforcement action or even charges having been brought against these merchants…unless the bank can demonstrate that its customers are operating in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws. That sets an impossible standard for the industry.”

Of course, that is exactly the intent.

The two primary targets of Operation Choke Point have been the short-term lending industry and firearm sellers. The distaste for both are rooted in leftist ideology. Progressives hate private lending, because they believe people cannot make financial decisions for themselves. In addition, there is ample evidence that the federal government wants to replace private lending with financial services provided by the Post Office. As for firearms, well, we know all about progressives and the Second Amendment.

Democrats need to take a breath and think about this issue very carefully. They should be outraged that Operation Choke Point even exists. If they aren’t outraged, then they need to get pragmatic and help bring it down.

If they sit on the sidelines, do they really believe that their political shenanigans will not be turned upon them? That Operation Choke Point won’t be used to kill operations that Republicans don’t like? What happens when a GOP President gets a look at Operation Choke Point and decides to keep it active? What businesses might be targeted by the righteously indignant victims of government oppression?

Think carefully, Democrats.

Let’s start with abortion. How about if banks cut off accounts for abortion clinics? For Planned Parenthood? For doctors who offer abortions? For hospitals?

So far, the left and its media water-carriers haven’t made a peep over Operation Choke Point. Imagine the rage – the foaming mouth kind – when they find that abortion clinics and doctors no longer have bank accounts to operate their business.

Something tells me Rachel Maddow will get religion mighty quickly in regards to the Constitution. I suspect more than a few “peaceful” protestors will be smashing the windows of local bank branches that, of course, have nothing to do with the issue. I’m certain we will hear all about an American’s “right” to have a bank account from the same people who aren’t saying anything about that same right regarding firearms sellers.

For you can say goodbye to same-sex marriage. If one performs a same-sex marriage, their bank account will be shut down. In fact, if one even has a same-sex wedding, their bank account will be considered “high risk.” In my wildest dreams, I’m hoping that bakers who are forced to bake cakes for same-sex weddings will be permitted to opt out without repercussion, but those who demanded said cakes will kiss their ATM cards good-bye.

Marijuana dispensaries are perfectly legal in Colorado, just as firearms sellers and payday lenders are in many states. That won’t stop the GOP’s Operation Choke Point from threatening banks with big fines if the DOJ even gets a whiff of cannabis coming from a B of A checking account. So much for the great experiment of marijuana legalization.

None of this, however, compares to how the unions would suffer. As it stands, union members are forced to have money deducted from their paycheck to feed the union’s coffers. Those funds are, in turn, used to advocate for policies the union bosses believe in, not what the rank-and-file may support.

Under the GOP’s Operation Choke Point, payment processors may no longer transfer payroll deductions into union bank accounts. Heck, never mind that, let’s just shut down the bank accounts of all unions. After all, this is administrative fiat we’re talking about. Republicans could do anything they want.

So Democrats, be careful what you wish for, as it could be visited upon you ten-fold.