Operation Choke Point Threat to Lawful Business Continues

posted March 11, 2015

The Justice Department points to only two cases to justify the program

March 11, 2015 – Washington, D.C.–  Brian Wise, Senior Advisor for the US Consumer Coalition (USCC), issued the following statement today in response to the Department of Justice’s announced settlement with CommerceWest Bank in California. CommerceWest allegedly facilitated fraudulent schemes, resulting in the defrauding of thousands of consumers.

“This settlement is laudable and something that the Department of Justice (DoJ) has always had the authority to enforce under the Bank Secrecy Act, Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), and other federal statutes. However, this is only the second settlement to come out of Operation Choke Point. There are potentially thousands of lawful and innocent businesses that have been negatively affected by Operation Choke Point. This begs the question: If the DoJ already had the authority to do this under current law, why push a program that does more damage than good?”

“Those opposed to Operation Choke Point have always contended that it is appropriate and necessary for the DoJ to use their authority under FIRREA for cases like CommerceWest Bank’s. It is the extra-legal tactics that they have pursued through Operation Choke Point that makes it a threat to lawful businesses and consumer choice.”

Rob Damschen
(202) 617-6155