In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) yesterday, a Department of Justice official formally confirmed that the agency has ended the controversial Operation Choke Point initiative, which under the Obama administration sought to curtail legal but politically disfavored businesses by working through bank regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships with those businesses.
“All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Choke Point are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd. “The Department will not discourage the provision of financial services to lawful industries, including businesses engaged in short-term lending and firearms-related activities.”
The American Bankers Association has long opposed Choke Point, successfully urging the FDIC to end its participation in the initiative and supporting legislation to prevent similar activities in the future. However, many financial institutions had been concerned about serving Choke Point-targeted businesses without a clear statement from DOJ that the initiative has been dropped.