Idaho Congressman Simpson supported H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, to curtail the Obama Administration’s regulatory enforcement program known as “Operation Choke Point.”
“Operation Choke Point” is a Department of Justice (DOJ) initiative in which federal banking regulators investigate banks’ business with merchants deemed to be at high risk for fraud and money laundering and “choke off” businesses alleged to have committed fraud from access to financial services. In recent years, the Obama Administration has misused this authority by discouraging banks and credit unions from providing banking services to entire categories of lawful businesses and industries, such as the gun and ammunition industry, simply because they were politically disfavored by the Administration.
“Federal regulators should not pressure banks to terminate their business with legal merchants by targeting industries that the Obama Administration deems objectionable, despite the fact that they are legal businesses,” said Simpson. “With business owners’ livelihoods at stake, such actions must be based on actual risk and not political motive. This program needs to be focused on combating fraud and protecting consumers rather than becoming an end-run around the Second Amendment.”
H.R. 766 would protect customers’ access to banking services from federal regulators, except in cases where there is material reason—such as a threat to national security—to terminate such access. H.R. 766 ensures that businesses operating lawfully are not denied access to banking services.
H.R. 766 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 250-169.