Obama’s Plutocratic and Tyrannical Elitist “Operation Choke Point”

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by Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

In yet another dereliction of President Obama’s duties to the American people, and in another display of his complete obeisance to American Plutocratic Elitist tyranny, Operation Choke Point is an initiative of the United States Department of Justice that was announced in 2013, under fellow “club member” former Attorney General Eric Holder, which states that their purpose is “investigating banks in the United States and the business they do with payment processors, payday lenders, and other companies believed to be at higher risk for fraud and money laundering,” but which instead is used as an openly unconstitutional weapon in the hands of tyrannical Plutocrats behind the scenes within the US Government and in the Military Industrial Complex security establishment to shut down, without warning or due process, any and all businesses deemed to be enemies of their political and militant agenda.

This operation, disclosed in an August 2013 Wall Street Journal story, has been accused of bypassing due process; the government is pressuring the financial industry to cut off the targeted companies’ access to banking services, without first having shown that the targeted companies are violating the law. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, critics say, “it’s a thinly veiled ideological attack on industries the Obama administration doesn’t like, such as gun sellers and coal producers.”

Ironically, while fellow “club member” Governor Andrew Cuomo has openly declared war on the anti-Israel economic boycott BDS movement in New York by disenfranchising them from business dealings and contracts with the State, encouraging others to follow, in a complete and total violation of the First Amendment, no one seems to question or ask how corrupt elitists in America can now literally starve out, shut down, and cut off from credit anyone and everyone who pisses them off, for whatever reason, under the guise of being a “high risk business.”

Certain banks and merchant services, are apparently shutting down credit card acceptance services of businesses all over the country, accused of going after targeted businesses and individuals who are in competition with other favored businesses in their same locale, so as to “cut out the competition,” using the federal US Government to do so.

Some merchant categories that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had listed until July 2014 as being associated with “high-risk activity” include Ammunition Sales, Cable Box De-scramblers, Coin Dealers, Credit Repair Services, Dating Services, Debt Consolidation Companies, Firearms Sales, Government Grants, Home-Based Charities, Mailing Lists/Personal Info, Money Transfer Networks, Payday Loans (which actually help poor people in desperate times), Pharmaceutical Sales, Pornography, “Racist” Materials, Surveillance Equipment (so as not to allow governmental competition), Telemarketing, Tobacco Sales, Travel Clubs, and other individuals and businesses as “terrorist supporting.”

Of course this list can be added to at anytime by anyone hidden within the “Justice Department” or US Treasury headed by Jacob Lew, Adam Szubin, and David Cohen.

Frank Keating of the American Bankers Association complained that Operation Choke Point “is asking banks to identify customers” who are “simply doing something government officials don’t like (such as fighting for civil liberties, human rights, the US Constitution, and economic sanction movements). Banks then “choke off” those customers’ access to financial services, “shutting down their accounts” without notice, warning, abruptly, and without any due process.

In August 2014, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer introduced a bill that would limit law enforcement’s ability to restrict access to the banking system as a response against Operation Choke Point.

On April 8, 2014, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing with the general counsels of the federal banking agencies regarding, among other things, Operation Choke Point. Committee members from both parties argued that Operation Choke Point is hurting lawful non-bank financial service providers by pressuring to eliminate access to the banking system and, in turn, the businesses unable to offer services to constituents.

The FDIC’s Richard Osterman repeatedly asserted that Operation Choke Point is a Justice Department operation and the FDIC’s participation is limited to providing information and guidance upon request. Mr. Osterman also asserted that the FDIC is not attempting to prohibit banks from offering products or services to non-bank financial service providers operating within the law.

Similarly, Amy Friend, of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), stated that the OCC wants to ensure that banks conduct “due diligence and implement appropriate controls,” but that the OCC is not prohibiting banks from offering services to “lawful” businesses. On May 29, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published a highly critical staff report that concluded: “Forceful prosecution of those who defraud American consumers is both responsible and admirable.

However, Department of Justice initiatives to combat mass-market consumer fraud must be legitimate exercises of the Department’s legal authorities, and must be executed in a manner that does not unfairly harm legitimate merchants and individuals.” However that was where it stopped, and nothing really happened after that point. Operation Choke Point fails both these requirements.

The Department’s radical reinterpretation of what constitutes an actionable violation under § 951 of FIRREA fundamentally distorts Congress’ intent in enacting the law, and inappropriately demands that bankers act as the moral arbiters and policemen of the commercial world. In light of the Department’s obligation to act within the bounds of the law, and its avowed commitment not to “discourage or inhibit” the lawful conduct of honest merchants, it is necessary to disavow and dismantle Operation Choke Point.

On November 21, 2014, William Isaac, the former Chairman of the FDIC from 1981 to 1985, wrote a scathing opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Don’t Like an Industry?

Send a Message to Its Bankers:

With Operation Choke Point, the Justice Department’s targets have included vendors of firearms and fireworks” stating that he believed that the agency acted in bad faith.

On March 24, 2015, a hearing was held before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Financial Services Committee. Subcommittee chair Sean P. Duffy said at the outset, “I fear that activists at the DOJ and the FDIC are abusing their power and authority and are going after legal businesses and, in effect, they are weaponizing government to meet their ideological beliefs.” The FDIC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have launched investigations into the operation, but of course since those agencies are staffed and run by elitists, this will of course go nowhere.

The FDIC’s inspector general, Fred Gibson, said he would review the conduct of agency personnel to find if the “actions and policies of the FDIC were consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policy,” as well as the regulator’s mission. Gibson said he would investigate allegations that FDIC General Counsel Richard Osterman provided false testimony to Congress earlier this year when discussing his organization’s activities. Osterman was testifying to the House of Representatives member when he rejected assertions that the FDIC wanted to cut off legitimate businesses’ use of the financial system.

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Rahul Manchanda, Esq.

Professor and Attorney Rahul Manchanda worked for one of the largest law firms in Manhattan where he focused on asbestos litigation. At the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) in Vienna, Austria, Mr. Manchanda was exposed to international trade law, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and comparisons of the American common law with European civil law. He later worked for one of the largest multi-national law firms in Paris France, Coudert Frères, where he focused primarily on international arbitration, arbitration agreements, the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards against multinational parent corporations, piercing the corporate veil, arbitration venue choice, and foreign policy.

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