Operation Choke Point

[This was first published in early 2014.  I’m reposting it now so it will be easy for Wall Street Journal readers to find.]

I recently wrote about Operation Choke Point.  That’s the name of the new set of banking regulations designed to choke off bank access to illegal activities.  Except that many of the activities are perfectly legal.  Here’s a partial list of entities targeted:

Choke Point Targeted Industries

Choke Point Targeted Industries

So much for the second amendment: firearms and ammunition sales.  So much for your social life: dating services (no, I won’t include escort services).  And pharmaceutical sales?  Are they talking about the drugs I regularly get from Kaiser via USPS?  Needless to say, racist materials, telemarketing, and even pornography are broadly protected by the first amendment.

Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness at The Daily Signal has been all over this story.  Today she reported what may be a bit of good news:

Daily Signal Article

Daily Signal Article

[pullquote]The correspondence I received from the FDIC and DOJ is a great first step in ensuring that those responsible for Operation Choke Point are held accountable and that Congress and the American people receive details and answers they deserve.[/pullquote]

The investigation will be conducted by the Justice Department (bad) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (probably good). Eric Holder’s Justice Department has been a cesspool of cronyism, discrimination, racism, and Chicago-style shakedowns. We owe thanks to  Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), quoted in Ms. Harkess’s article →

But there’s more.  Consider this (from the Daily Signal article, quotation attributed to FDIC):

Responsible for regulating and auditing more than 4,500 banks, the FDIC also agreed to investigate what it calls a “serious allegation” by the congressmen that an FDIC senior official provided false testimony to Congress on the operation.

“Going forward, we will work through the committees and report the results of our work when and as it is appropriate to do so,” wrote Fred W. Gibson Jr., Principal Deputy Inspector General for the FDIC.

We can only hope.



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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.