By John Velisek, USN (Ret), staff writer
On March 24th, Coach is Right published—“The Obama Administration’s Operation ‘Choke Point’ now in the open”. That piece is currently available on the CiR site under Recent Posts.
On Monday, Richard Manning, Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government, said this of the Obama Administration: “Their intent is to create a government sanctioned means of driving private industry out of the business of providing payday loans.” Peter Barden, of the Online Lenders Association agrees that what the Obama Administration is doing is outside its legal authority.
Manning was referring to a particular, ongoing use of Operation Choke Point, a federal law enforcement program created from the merging of the DOJ and the FDIC. The stated purpose of the Operation is the shutting down of corrupt businesses.
But in the hands of the Obama Administration, Choke Point has been used to destroy any business which Obama and Co consider morally or politically disagreeable. A short list of these industries include firearms, ammunition, payday loans, coin dealers and pharmaceutical sales.
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Choke Point inevitably begins with Department of Justice operatives intimidating banks into ending all ties with such businesses. If a gun store owner should then find no way to process payments, borrow money or even maintain a checking account, how is he to conduct business? Of course, it is the Obama Administration’s belief that political enemies should not be permitted to do business. I don’t know who gave them that right, but it was certainly not the American people.
The Choke Point process was initially implemented to stop financial fraud, not as a massive government clampdown on legal businesses. But in the hands of corrupt politicians, any means of utilizing absolute authority will eventually lead to the criminal abuse of that authority. After all, Choke Point was never meant to target the practice of free and legal enterprise or the activities of law abiding businessmen.
Yet how many DOJ officials told banks and examiners “I don’t like this business, they should not have payment processing available to them in our financial system. I’m certain you will agree, or face an immediate, unplanned audit of your bank.” These are the totalitarian practices which should drive honest politicians to defund the Choke Point program.
The United States is not a Marxist dictatorship in spite of the best efforts of Barack Obama and the corrupt thugs who carry out his orders. Federal threats should never be part of our business climate.
Mark Pearce of the FDIC was scheduled to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but his name was withdrawn due to lack of support. Before Pearce was in charge of Operation Choke Point, he worked for the Bureau of Consumer Protection and spent more than ten years with the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) in Durham North Carolina. The CRL is a front for the Self-Help Foundation, a credit union with a conflict of interest in the payday loan industry. The CRL was instrumental in the massive collapse of the sub-prime loan market in 2008.
If the government can coerce banks to do its bidding, where will the deliberate, government ordered destruction of political and economic enemies stop? Will the Obama Regime crack down on Republican and tea party groups again, on radio stations that carry programs they do not like, or even on those on the internet who may question their methods?
If the government is allowed to continue this program of baseless accusations of fraud, it will continue to move forward, rolling over any business which does not conform to federal political demands. That is not the way capitalism works and is another short step to socialist tyranny.