Sens. Cruz, Lee Introduce ABA-Backed Anti-‘Choke Point’ Bill

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) yesterday introduced an ABA-supported bill intended to rein in the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point, which sought to curtail disfavored businesses by working through regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships with these businesses.

The bill would require regulators to present a material reason — beyond reputation risk — for ordering the termination of a customer relationship. It would also amend the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, which prosecutors have used as the basis for Choke Point, to prevent such use. The House companion bill — H.R. 766, introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) — passed with a bipartisan majority in February.