Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DOJ Intimidates Banks to drop Ammunition Suppliers, Firearm Sales, Surveillance Equipment and Coin Dealers

Here is a list of businesses claimed to have been targeted with operation "Choke Point".   The administration characterization of "high risk" seems to  translate into "Those I do not like."  These  "High Risk" merchant categories are listed on an fdic.gov site:

  • Ammunition Sales
  • Cable Box De-scramblers
  • Coin Dealers
  • Credit Card Schemes
  • Credit Repair Services
  • Dating Services
  • Debt Consolidation Scams
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Escort Services
  • Firearms Sales
  • Fireworks Sales
  • Get Rich Products
  • Government Grants
  • Home-Based Charities
  • Life-Time Guarantees
  • Life-Time Memberships
  • Lottery Sales
  • Mailing Lists/Personal Info
  • Money Transfer Networks
  • On-line Gambling
  • PayDay Loans
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Ponzi Schemes
  • Pornography
  • Pyramid-Type Sales
  • Racist Materials
  • Surveillance Equipment
  • Telemarketing
  • Tobacco Sales
  • Travel Clubs

 Some of these companies/activities will be offensive to some.  Others will be astonished that they are included on a list of activities to be targeted for extra-legal punishment through pressure from government regulators.  None of this is aimed at people who are breaking laws.  In fact, that is the whole point of operation "choke point"; to go after people who are operating legally, but doing something that higher ups in the DOJ do not like or approve of.

Some of them, taken together, are positively chilling: ammunition sales, firearms, surveillance equipment, coin dealers?   It is almost a laundry list of "progressive" bigotry, that much of the country finds acceptable.   The list above is from 2011, and appears to focus mostly on Internet sales.

It is a classic case of the authoritarian use of power by the government to crack down on individuals that they do not like, even though no crime was committed.   

This article explains how the pressure is applied:

According to The Hill, the DOJ encourages banks and third party payment processors to drop these high-risk clients by “flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands.”  The American Banker reveals, in their timeline of Operation Choke Point, that the subpoena flood started shortly after Operation Choke Point’s inception in March 2013.  The subpoenas went to banks and payment processors large and small: Everything from the $343 million-endowed National Bank of California to the $220 billion-endowed PNC Financial Services Group.  By fall of 2013, the Justice Department had pressured some banks into settling with the government.  The DOJ used these settlements as a template to further strongarm other banks into compliance.  The DOJ is targeting 30 high-risk industries, as labeled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2011, in a report titled “Managing Risks in Third-Party Payment Processor Relationships.”
The article goes on to tout BitCoins, a digital currency, as a way to work around these regulatory intimidation tactics.

These tactics show how government power is extralegally applied.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


painlord2k@gmail.com said...

if the banks drop high risk firms like these, these are new adopter pushed to adopt an alternative to the banking system: Bitcoin.

Wireless.Phil said...

I knew I seen this before.
Do I believe it?
Not really, it would close businesses and put more people out of work.

Here is the article from Jan. 01, 2014, with 3 total comments!

The DOJ’s “Operation Choke Point” Has Driven 30 Industries To Bitcoin

Caleb Chen 01/05/2014
Business, News, Op-ed 3 Comment

Lawrence (GrumpyCat) Mayo said...


Get this idea to Congress.

Congress can act like Holder and the President and simply make up law. They can issue funds to create a bank that will cater to gun and ammunition sales companies.

Let Holder come after THAT.