Last year the Department of Justice partnered with the FDIC and the Federal Trade Commission to put a whole host of industries (and their customers) on a "high-risk" list and urged banks to pay close attention to those industries as part of Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point is described this way by USConsumers.org:
Operation Choke Point is a program by the Obama Administration designed to interfere with and destroy the banking relationships between America's banks and their clients. The name, "Operation Choke Point" was developed by the Department of Justice in Collaboration with the FDIC and the Office of Comptroller of Currency at the Treasury Department.
How it works:
-Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs): These are a type of demand for information from banks an businesses issued by federal regulators as a "fishing expedition." Typically these CIDs request information about business practices, consumer behavior, consumer transaction data, and proprietary business information. Once one of these CIDs is received, companies are restricted from revealing the nature of the inquiry.
-Enforcement Teams: DOJ and FDIC send enforcement teams to banks to intimidate them into ending their relationships with the industries listed above. The clients of these banks report that, without warning, they are notified by their banks that their banking relationship has ended, and they will need to find a new place to bank.
Storefront gun dealers, online dealers and ammunition dealers are on the "high risk" list, along with porn and other salacious products (as if they're even comparable, the Second Amendment is constitutional right, yet it's on the DOJ hit list). DOJ argues the program is needed to stop fraud, but that's a lie. The program is used to target politically inconvenient industries without the permission of Congress. As David Codrea has reported, these tactics are not new. Gun grabbing politicians like Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer have regularly compared firearms they don't like to child porn.
Linking firearms with pornography is hardly a new tack. In 2009, this column noted a multitude of idiotic offensive proposals by “The Smutty Professor,” Darrell A.H. Miller, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati. His "Guns as Smut: Defending the Home-Bound Second Amendment," published in the Columbia Law Review, “offers a provocative proposal for tackling the issue of Second Amendment scope, one tucked in many dresser drawers across the nation: Treat the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense the same as the right to own and view adult obscenity under the First Amendment -- a robust right in the home, subject to near-plenary restriction by elected government everywhere else.”
Likening guns with obscene materials isn’t limited to loopy, agenda-driven ivory tower academics with no real-world influence. Anti-gun Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, with assists from Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, extended the comparison and went beyond it, advocating certain semiautomatics were equivalent with “child pornography,” and thus unprotected by the Bill of Rights.
Now according to the Washington Times, online gun dealers are feeling the squeeze thanks to Operation Choke Point, just like the Justice Department planned. New regulations are destroying the relationships between banks and firearms dealers in an attempt to put them out of business.
Justice’s operation threatens to “close access to the financial system to law-abiding businesses, because the mere prospect of an enforcement action is sufficient to cause financial institutions to restrict access to their payment systems to only established companies that present low risks,” the organization said.
An ironic piece to this story is that J.P. Morgan Chase, a bank that is notorious for cutting off funds and accounts to firearms dealers, does business with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The bank holds the Bureau's credit cards. Does sending 2500 AK-47 "assault" rifles to violent Mexican drug cartels count as "high risk?" Not under Attorney General Eric Holder's standards.
These tactics are discriminatory against Americans attempting to practice their constitutional Second Amendment rights. Somehow I think Attorney General Eric Holder would be looking at this differently if it were an attack on voting rights. But then again, this is what we're dealing with:
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.