Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
New evidence of an Obama administration program known as Operation Choke Point – and a concurrent government cover-up – has come to light and proves that the administration went farther than previously thought to illegally target and destroy legal businesses in industries that the left ideologically disfavored – such as gun and ammunition dealers.
Operation Choke Point, one of the many Obama scandals the liberal media has largely ignored, is an illegal targeting campaign in which Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and other federal agencies – notably the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) – subverted due process and the rule of law to secretly target the free market. At the heart of Operation Choke Point was these officials’ ruthless campaign to force banks to terminate their relationships with these “undesirable” industries, effectively quashing their operations.
This new evidence, which comes from never-before-seen, recently unsealed court records, expose depositions and emails of government officials who executed this secretive campaign against lawful businesses. The documents are rife with references to former FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg and his bureaucratic comrades, such as the FDIC’s Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP) Director Mark Pearce, and Chicago and Atlanta Regional FDIC Directors Anthony Lowe and Thomas Dujenski, respectively. These officials all forced their staff to implement this Obama/Holder program, and they employed tactics including threats to agency staff that they would be fired if they did not follow orders, as well as to private sector bank officials who were threatened with criminal prosecution if they disobeyed the government’s directives.
Despite their illegal, unconstitutional actions while serving under the public trust, these individuals still serve in the highest levels of government. Gruenberg remains a member of the FDIC Board of Directors, and in May 2018 was reportedly a favorite of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to become Vice Chairman of the agency. Pearce continues to serve in the same role at the FDIC as he has over the last several years, and Lowe is now, unbelievably, the FDIC’s Ombudsman – the person responsible for investigating complaints against the FDIC for malfeasance and other matters.
While the FDIC and OCC are two of the clearest perpetrators, the true scope of Operation Choke Point is still in question and needs to be answered. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under former Director Richard Cordray – handpicked by now-Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – embarked on some of the most partisan regulatory activities in recent memory, such as its widely-criticized auto lending regulations and its now-quashed arbitration rule. The CFPB’s role in Operation Choke Point under Cordray, though, remains unknown.
In 2014 and 2015, Cordray testified before the Senate and House, respectively, in his role as CFPB Director and continuously denied having any involvement with Operation Choke Point. In fact, in these hearings Cordray affirmed that he had not heard about Operation Choke Point until it “burst into public view” and that he had “not given advice to the Department of Justice” in this secret initiative.
According to an newly uncovered email between FDIC officials charged with running Operation Choke Point, an unnamed individual at the CFPB was said to have flagged for select FDIC officials certain information on an Atlanta-area bank that had relationships with a particularly disfavored industry. In addition to this email, a September 2015 FDIC Inspector General report by the Assistant Inspector General for Audits found:
“In carrying out its work in connection with Operation Choke Point, DOJ employees communicated with regulatory agencies, including the FDIC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)…”
Cordray is now running to be governor of Ohio, and this new information raises serious questions about his participation in Operation Choke Point and if he was being truthful under oath.
Following the election of President Trump, the Department of Justice ended Operation Choke Point in August 2017. The consequences of Operation Choke Point in the free market, however, are still very real today, with certain businesses having their banking relationships terminated simply because unelected liberal bureaucrats oppose them on a purely ideological basis.
In light of these newly unsealed documents, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) wrote letters to current FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting calling on them to investigate these new developments and “take immediate and firm action against any member of their staff who has abused their power.” Congress and President Trump will now have the opportunity to further investigate this abuse of power and take appropriate steps to ensure this kind of government malfeasance and cover-up never happens again.