AFR in the News: Republicans Slam Operation Choke Point; DOJ Official Backs Its Targeted Nature

“’House Republicans criticized officials from the Justice Department and other federal agencies July 15 over the scope of Operation Choke Point, a DOJ program to investigate banks that process payments for accused fraudsters,” Bloomberg BNA’s Rob Trichinelli reports. “The program can ‘effectively choke off businesses from accessing the banking system,’ Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, reflecting Republican criticism that the program is too broad and hinders legitimate, legal business. McHenry chairs the House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, which held the hearing.

“’Our policy is to investigate specific conduct, based on evidence that consumers are being defrauded—not to target whole industries or businesses acting lawfully—and to follow the facts wherever they lead us, in accordance with the law, regardless of the type of business involved,’ Stuart Delery, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Civil Division, said…

Americans for Financial Reform urged members of Congress to allow Operation Choke Point and other oversight of payment fraud to continue. ‘Banks are not always aware that they are being used to facilitate illegal activity,’ their July 15 letter said. ‘But when they choose profits in the face of blatant signs of illegality, they become an appropriate target for enforcement action.’”