Update on Operation Choke Point Lawsuit

The FDIC has been ordered to turn over documents. This should be fun. As you may remember, Operation Choke Point was the Obama administration’s effort to bully financial institutions into dropping their business ties with the firearms industry, effectively starving the industry by denying it access to financial services and capital.

42 thoughts on “Update on Operation Choke Point Lawsuit”

  1. My first quick thought is, “bullying” an industry that has had no qualms about colluding with the oligarchs of hostile foreign powers (the Nazis before and possibly during WWII, and today the Russians) never had many prospects of accomplishing much; and so the threats were a charade to wow softheads in the liberal camp.

    Why would a neo-liberal like Obama risk offending his important base by causing them extra effort?

      1. “There’s an opiate epidemic.”

        Must be. Opiates make you sleepy, and a lot of people here seem to have been asleep for quite awhile. ;-)

  2. Second, almost as quick thought:

    I found this passage interesting in that article:

    Payday and other short-term lenders as well as those involved in the firearms industry said they were specifically targeted under the program.

    The firearms industry has been particularly vocal in its opposition to Operation Choke Point.

    I wonder which the NRA was in fact more concerned with; the firearms industry or the payday loan industry?

    I wonder that because I saw defenses of the payday loan industry originating from some odd sources, apart from its relationship to Operation Choke Point. For example, I recall being puzzled why author J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, departed from decrying the moral/lifestyle shortcomings of his hillbilly roots, to include a riff about what a wonderful thing payday loans were for that culture.

    Someone has to be paying for all that deep concern.

      1. “why would the NRA care about payday loans?”

        If they were there to serve the interests of their Republican sponsors and fellow travelers, it would make sense.

        1. Ah. So, any… support to that idea?

          Because while the NRA has certainly gone to full on culture warrior status and railing against the left maybe you should bring more to the table than just “Well, I’m sure some of their fellow travelers like payday loans so the NRA’s gotta be going to bat for ’em!”

          1. There’s a lot more to “bring to the table” but as you see, everyone thinks I’m a raving paranoid as it is; and people thought that, not that long ago, when I’d say that the NRA was headed for “full culture warrior status.”

            But the Big Business/Corporatist faction of the Republican Party has few if any conflicts with the culture warriors; if anything in the relationships I’ve known about the they have been symbiotic. (E.g, the National Right to Work Committee is funded by industry for obvious reasons; but the NRTWC people themselves are throughly “Religious Right,” and provided training for activists in virtually every social conservative issue; the industrialists consider those funds, which otherwise might be considered misdirected, as also in their self-interest politically, or at worst, a small price to pay for the NRTWC’s primary service.) Everybody in the loop “gets it.” But, gun rights advocates seem to be unique in believing everything is what it appears to be on its face.

              1. “You are getting yourself into a higher orbit.”

                Speaking the truth often tends to do that.

                Laugh yourself silly, but make a mental note. Then wait to see how things play out, over lots of years.

              1. “You are beginning to frighten me…”

                Good. That increases chances you’ll remember what I was saying, when you see evidence of it in the future.

  3. I actually thought this from the same source was at least as interesting.

    DOJ: Gun Prosecutions Up Nearly 23 Percent — NRA cheers prosecutions

    Is anyone discussing the nature of the offenses that made these people eligible for a gun-related prosecution?

    I get confused because people keep telling me the NRA is a pro-gun organization.

    We can discuss the administration some other time.

    1. Oh good grief, “illegal possession”, you know that refers to prosecutions of prohibited persons, right? Yet that bugs you? And you think this is cause to go on one of your anti-NRA rants?

      Hey, I’m very libertarian, I’m all against prosecution of victimless crimes which is the core of gun-control laws, including the “prohibited person” restrictions.

      But of all the placebo vs harmful laws of gun-control, the “prohibited person” laws are the least harmful gun-control laws, making them the most universally supported gun-control laws, and championed even by the NRA.

      1. “you know that refers to prosecutions of prohibited persons, right?”

        And you do know, right, that here in Pennsylvania we had people who were disbarred from owning firearms because they had one DUI conviction back in the early 1970s, when for a brief window of time, it was a crime punishable (not necessarily punished) by two years in prison?

        And you do know we have people disbarred because they have juvenile records, because in Pennsylvania (and most states?) juveniles are not entitled to the same level of defense as adults; but that because at one time your juvenile record was put behind you when you became an adult; and so lazy, dingbat lawyers would advise kids to “plead guilty, and just put it all behind you?” That “put it all behind you” was fixed by the NRA’s Sportsmen’s Omnibus Anti-Crime Bill back in the 1990s.

        And you do know many “criminals” were disbarred by marijuana laws, for doing things decades ago that are now totally legal in many states?

        If you wanted to talk about crimes of violence and disbarment from 2A rights, you and I might be on the same page; but when someone can be disbarred for say, a tax violation or a paperwork misfiling or not being adequately forthcoming when talking to the FBI, uh-uh. Disbarment for non-violent crimes is anti-gun, plain and simple, and that’s what makes up a substantial number of disbarments; so cheering for it is anti-gun, too.

        1. You do know that you have failed to establish that any of that is the subject of the increased prosecutions.

          1. Something else I know is that we are the only self-proclaimed “constitutional” constituency that accepts that a constitutional right goes away after one, often petty violation.

            Imagine if you lost the right to be protected from warrantless searches upon one conviction. Or your Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. But we are so proud of our Law Abiding Citizens status (laws we agree with, of course) that we pride ourselves on taking away constitutional rights for minimal cause.

            “you have failed to establish that any of that is the subject of the increased prosecutions.”

            And you in turn have failed to establish that it is not. On other matters, the current administration has enabled law enforcement policies of relatively indiscriminate enforcement; why would you believe that on the matter of firearms possession, they have become more discriminating? As always, discrimination of criminality is deferred to the enforcers.

            I would reasonably expect the distribution of crimes leading to the existing disbarment of those convicted would be at best, unchanged; and victimless crimes have always been a part of that distribution. So 23 percent more firearms convictions, 23 percent more originating with victimless crime.

            1. I wasn’t the one that made a ridiculous assertion. I bear no burden of proof.

              And yes, there are losses to Fourth Amendment rights upon conviction, look up probation/parole terms some day.

              Or not.

              1. “look up probation/parole terms some day.”

                Both probation and parole are conditional continuations of a prison sentence. Fourth Amendment protections are recovered once the convicted have fully “paid their debt to society.”

                Not so with the Second Amendment, and we are conditioned to cheer for that. Witness this conversation.

                And if you maintain that a statement is absurd, you bear at least some responsibility to demonstrate why it’s absurd.

  4. Another Soros connected effort. It was the government that did it but the advocates and cheerleaders were a gaggle of left wing organizations including Soros’ foundations. Another funder was the MacArthur Foundation which incidentally was was another funder of the bogus terrorism data base that Weatherman tried to peddle her a number of posts ago.

    1. “bogus terrorism data base that Weatherman tried to peddle her a number of posts ago.”

      First it was your Emmanuel Goldstein, now it’s MacArthur? :-)

      But the one thing you’ve always left out of all your bogusism, is a sourced correction of the statistics you disagree with. As I recall, in that example, you cited one arguable sin of omission for one state, so declared everything bogus. I’m sure everyone would benefit from your corrected statistics, if in fact you’re right. We just haven’t seen your corrections — just your “fake news” whining.

      1. I don’t have the resources of Soros behind me to develop my own data base but anyone funded by a large array of of left wing organizations is suspect as a source, especially when a number of specifics that I remembered were off.

        Your comment about MacArthur made absolutely no sense. Did you thing I was talking about Douglas MacArthur. It is the John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation which funds a large range of left wing causes.

        btw, do you get shift differential for posting on weekends?

        1. “I don’t have the resources of Soros behind me to develop my own data base…”

          Heh. In other words, “I can’t prove it, I just know it’s true. . .”

          Who else says that? :-)

          1. You didn’t answer either of my questions. Just attacked my (relative) poverty.

            1. “Just attacked my (relative) poverty.”

              Poor baby!

              But your MacArthur question was absurd, and as for “shift differentials”, I could make a lot more being one of Emmanuel Goldstein’s “paid protestors.” Thousands get paid hundreds of dollars an hour — right?

              We all get paid just to piss off Little Richard.

              1. Actually, it looks like you have pissed off lots of people other than me. Oh well, it comes with the job. A new pseudonym would buy you some time.

                1. “Actually, it looks like you have pissed off lots of people..”

                  Again, good. People seek having smoke blown up their asses, and are pissed off whenever anyone pisses on their parade — to badly mix metaphors.

                  But maybe tomorrow morning ten percent of the pissees will still remember what I said, when they would have (rightly) forgotten every single word had I deferred to the choir and joined in the love-in, or the Two Minutes Hate, as the case may have been. And those who remember may watch, and actually learn something in the future, when reality eventually smacks them in the chops.

                  I realized late in life that when you go looking to be loved, you become nothing but a whore. Or maybe a congressman.

  5. And another slew of government computers suddenly disappear or are discovered to have their discs wiped.

  6. FFLs were pretty far from the only targets of “operation chokepoint” — a wide multitude of business were targeted.

    This is important to remember, because it’s easier to fight against this kind of government overreach when you can show people it effects them. In this case, your left leaning neighbor might not care about the government targeting gun stores or payday lenders, but might actually care about the government targeting the porn industry (including porn stores and porn sites) via the same program.

    Doing anything in government is all about building a coalition, and it helps to be able to convince people with wildly different politics that their interests actually align on something.

    1. Clearly the NRA is in the pocket of big porn and is just using guns as as smokescreen.

      Oh wait… it’s /payday loans/ they’re in the pocket of.

      1. “Clearly the NRA is in the pocket of big porn”

        How many Big Porn purveyors are Republicans? ;-)

  7. I have to emphasize that I don’t intend to defend Operation Choke Point in any way. It appears to have had the typical faults of a “regulatory” agency de facto “legislating” in a mostly arbitrary manner.

    What I am questioning is how much of the criticism of it may have been in defense of mainly the finance industry (bankers) while, for populist appeal, harping on issues like firearms, confident that the gun rights rank-and-file would take up the cudgel on their behalf. Few people not in the industry are wild about payday loans.

    FWIW, and only because it is reasonably concise and non-ideological, here is the Wikipedia article about Operation Choke Point.

    Following is an extract from that article, listing what industries were targeted:

    Some merchant categories that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had listed until July 2014 as being associated with high-risk activity include (until the FDIC revised the original policy in July 2014):

    Ammunition Sales
    Cable Box De-scramblers
    Coin Dealers
    Credit Card Schemes
    Credit Repair Services
    Dating Services
    Debt Consolidation Scams
    Drug Paraphernalia
    Escort Services
    Firearms Sales
    Fireworks Sales
    Get Rich Products
    Government Grants
    Home-Based Charities
    Life-Time Guarantees
    Life-Time Memberships
    Lottery Sales
    Mailing Lists/Personal Info
    Money Transfer Networks
    On-line Gambling
    Pawn Shops
    Payday Loans
    Pharmaceutical Sales
    Ponzi Schemes
    Pyramid-Type Sales
    Racist Materials
    Surveillance Equipment
    Tobacco Sales
    Travel Clubs

    Again FWIW, if you search that article you’ll find “firearms” mentioned exactly three times, with one of those being the inclusion in the above list. “Payday loans” are mentioned many more times, and would give the reader the impression that was the main targeted industry.

    Meanwhile, most of the stories in right-leaning media seemed to emphasize the “firearms” angle. (That admittedly would be a hard statistic to defend, since much left-leaning media mentions firearms too, but often in the context of quoting a right-leaning source.)

    So, could my critics help me/us out by producing statistics on how many times each of the categories in the above list were targeted? I know things like gun auctions were illegitimately targeted, as were other industries illegitimately targeted. But were any industries excessively harped on, knowing their grassroots constituencies would scream bloody murder about their Special Victim status?

    My point, as always, is that the firearms rights movement is often used to carry water for other issues, industries, and agendas; so I take nothing at face value anymore.

    1. You know that kind of makes you sound like you’re angry that gun rights people are taking umbrage at being caught in with a program that’s lumping them in with a vast array of scams and shady businesses?
      (other than the concerns of not being able to do business)

      I note that Surveillance Equipment, Pornography, Tobacco Sales, and Pharmaceutical Sales are also listed.

      Couldn’t one also go “Well clearly the NRA is in the pocket of these left-leaning* businesses and are just using the gun stuff as a pretext”

      * Hey if you can call payday loans right leaning…

      1. “You know that kind of makes you sound like you’re angry that gun rights people are taking umbrage . . .”

        First, thank you for your opinion of what I may sound like; we can all have a tin ear about our own rap. Input is always good.

        But that said, let me make clear that my point is almost always that the gun community is used in politics, to serve the interests of dozens of other interests and agendas.

        To illustrate what I mean: If in our example (I emphasize that I’m making up numbers) 5 or 10 companies in say the loan industry were targeted, while 50 gun-related businesses were targeted, I’d be suspicious (convinced, actually) that targeting the firearms industry had been a big part of the FDIC (via Obama) agenda. But if 50 other industries were targeted, but only 3 or 4 gun related companies, I would wonder why so much public attention was being assigned to the gun issue.

        (I am of course by “targeted” meaning “wrongly targeted.” Legal and honest companies unjustly singled out, regardless of the nature of their businesses; crooked businesses can always be suspected of being targeted because they’re crooked.)

        A bias in reporting about firearms companies as an example could of course be explained by “the left” trying to make it an issue, because of the implications. But it also could be explained by, one of the shady industries hyping those few gun cases to the gun rights constituency, simply for our magnitude. As I said, none of the other listed industries have much of a populist constituency; so if gun rights advocates can be convinced they are being victimized by a public policy, they become useful in attacking that policy.

  8. The Obama administration, and cultural Marxists, but I repeat myself, hated capitalism and private gun ownership, so their animosity was especially focused on private gun dealers, who they regarded as being at least doubly illegitimate, and thus worthy of destruction “by any means necessary”. Hopefully, that disregard for the rule of law, their mob violence, will come back to bite them.

  9. “…so their animosity was especially focused on private gun dealers…”

    I’m just being argumentative because I don’t know, but as I’ve alluded to above, are there statistics to support that? To beat the dead horse, were shady loan companies cited as justification for Project Choke Point, while mostly gun dealers were targeted?

    If so, I’ll shut up and go away chastened. But I don’t know. And until I do know, I’ll maintain my suspicion that our gun rights constituency was recruited to carry water for other interests.

    (I will repeat that I agree the Project Choke Point was a very badly conceived program, regardless of who was targeted.)

    1. “But I don’t know.”

      Forgot to add yesterday, that apparently, neither does anyone else here; strong opinions and dead-certainties notwithstanding.

      The passing of a day has only served to make that clearer. I am still waiting for correction, while dabbling off and on with correcting myself if possible; I’m looking for statistics categorizing which industries were most targeted by Operation Choke Point. Which to repeat myself, was a bad federal program.

  10. “I am still waiting for correction, while dabbling off and on with correcting myself…”

    I am still trying to do my critics’ work for them.

    I have found one source, a book that stated “it appeared the businesses most targeted were the payday loan and firearms industries…” Well, here we go I thought. But no statistics were cited, and the statement came with neither a foot- nor an end-note giving a source.

    What gave that appearance to the author, and what were the relative magnitudes of the numbers of cases? “Most” could mean, a hundred of one, two of the other, and no other categories.

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