U.S. Department of Justice to End Obama-Era Operation Choke Point

August 18, 2017 | Press Releases

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The U.S. Department of Justice this week committed to ending Operation Choke Point, the secret Obama-era campaign that targets legal, licensed businesses disfavored by the previous administration. In a letter sent to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called Operation Choke Point “a misguided initiative conducted during the previous administration” and declared “[e]nforcement decisions should always be made based on facts and the applicable law.”

In response to the news, Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), released the following statement:

“We are very pleased to hear that the Justice Department is interested in rolling back the Operation Choke Point program that it started during the Obama Administration. This illegal program has caused tremendous harm over the years to legal and licensed businesses all over the country, including many small businesses who have had to close down after losing their banking relationships.

“While the Justice Department’s announcement is a positive development, it is imperative that the federal regulatory agencies -- the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve -- whose officials served to implement this illegal program be fully stopped and held to account.

“CFSA will continue its ongoing lawsuit to put an end to Operation Choke Point and hold these regulatory agencies accountable. We won't stop until federal regulators cease applying their backroom pressure to legal, licensed businesses and until those who have been wrongly targeted by Operation Choke Point are allowed to reestablish banking relationships.”

CFSA and its largest member, Advance America, filed CFSA et al. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. et al., No. 1:14-cv-00953. against the federal government in June of 2014 seeking to end Operation Choke Point and to have banking relationships restored. The defendants in the lawsuit, which recently entered the discovery phase, are the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the OCC. Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, allowing the case to enter the discovery phase.

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