U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: “Operation Choke Point Hurt Lawful Businesses”

Missouri congressman calls for investigation into latest actions under the initiative causing legitimate businesses to lose access to banking services.

10/25/2018 2:30 PM

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: “Operation Choke Point Hurt Lawful Businesses”

Calling it an “unprecedented initiative,” U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., is continuing to focus on the impact of Operation Choke Point on legitimate businesses following the recent report on new actions under the Obama-era program.

“For the last five years, I have fought to end the Obama administration’s ideologically driven initiative to kill legitimate businesses, aptly named ‘Operation Choke Point,” Luetkemeyer writes in an opinion piece for American Banker. “Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman William Isaac went as far as to call it ‘one of the most dangerous programs I have experienced in my 45 years of service as a bank regulator, bank attorney and consultant, and bank board member.’”

Luetkemeyer is calling for an investigation from FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting after new details reveal actions restricting banking services under Operation Choke Point, ACA International previously reported.

In addition to an investigation, Luetkemeyer’s letters to Otting and McWilliams also call for “immediate and firm action against any member of their staff who has abused their power.”

In a letter to FDIC and McWilliams, Luetkemeyer notes that the court documents reveal that “senior FDIC Washington staff threatened regional directors with termination should financial institutions engage in business with payday lenders.”

The evidence is “truly astounding” Luetkemeyer writes in American Banker “As a former examiner, I find it appalling that senior government officials would not only allow, but encourage, this type of irresponsible behavior. “

Luetkemeyer, chairman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, has consistently advocated for the end of Operation Choke Point, including through the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 2706) which passed in the House by a 395-2 vote in December 2017, ACA International previously reported.

Read Luetkemeyer’s complete op-ed for American Banker here.

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