(by Kit Daniels) -- The U.S. Department of Justice is currently attacking the Second Amendment by fiat while constantly denying its abuses despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Yesterday we revealed that the Justice Dept. is causing banks to fear doing business with legal gun dealersdue to Operation Choke Point, a joint program between the DOJ, FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau targeting “high-risk activities,” of which firearm sales is also listed.
“Federal law enforcers are targeting merchant categories like payday lenders, ammunition and tobacco sales, and telemarketers – but not merely by pursuing those merchants directly,” Jason Oxman, the CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, wrote on the subject. “Rather, Operation Choke Point is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands.”
Oxman explained the superficial logic behind Operation Choke Point: by increasing the legal and compliance costs of serving “disfavored merchant categories,” financial institutions will “simply stop providing service to such merchants.”
“And it’s working – payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that – although providing a legal service – are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities,” he added.
Last month, BitPay, a U.S.-based bitcoin processor, refused to do business with gun dealer Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gunworks due to its Terms of Service which excludes merchants involved in firearm sales, ponzi schemes, “get rich quick” programs, “money service businesses” (such as payday loans), gambling and others which are all listed in the FDIC document.
Prominent financial experts have, however, come out and opposed the program, such as Frank Keating, the CEO of the American Banker Associated, who explained his opposition to the program in the Wall Street Journal.
“Unfortunately, the strategy is legally dubious,” he wrote. “[The] Justice [Dept.] is pressuring banks to shut down accounts without pressing charges against a merchant or even establishing that the merchant broke the law.”
Last August, 31 members of Congress became aware of Operation Choke Point and sent a letter to the Justice Dept. asking for information on the program, stating that it “has come to our attention that the DOJ and the FDIC are leading a joint effort that according to a DOJ official is intended to ‘change the structures within the financial system … choking [online short-term lenders] off from the very air they need to survive,’” in reference to payday lenders listed as a “high-risk activity” alongside firearm sales in the FDIC document.
They also warned that the agencies were acting outside of their congressional mandate and without statutory authority.
The DOJ, however, refused to answer any questions about the program.
But Justice Dept. trial attorney Joel M. Sweet provided specific details on the program during a FDIC-sponsored presentation to bank examiners, which clearly indicates that both the DOJ and FDIC are scrutinizing firearm sales so severely that banks will shy away from the burdensome demands as Oxman indicated.
It’s no surprise that Operation Choke Point came into existence during Eric Holder’s reign as Attorney General, who famously said in 1995 that he wanted to “brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”