In a major development concerning discrimination in how financial services and products were withheld from firearms-related businesses due to “Operation Choke Point,” the top officials of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) have admitted wrongdoing and said they would cease such practices. Participating in Operation Choke Point, which was spearheaded by the Department of Justice, the FDIC had classified some industries as high risk: Cable Box De-scramblers, Credit Repair Services, Dating Services, Drug Paraphernalia, Escort Services, Ponzi Schemes, Pornography, and Racist Materials, to name a few. Included in this group were “Ammunition Sales” and “Firearms Sales.” U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) released a statement after a meeting with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Vice Chairman Tom Hoenig discussing the agency’s involvement in Operation Choke Point.
“Today is a turning point in the fight against Operation Choke Point. This morning, I met with Chairman Gruenberg and Vice Chairman Hoenig to discuss the FDIC’s activity with Operation Choke Point. Not only did the Chairman and the Vice Chairman acknowledge wrongdoing within the organization, but they have accepted many of the policies put forth in my legislation, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act.
“I’m pleased that FDIC is implementing these important changes without delay. I’m also pleased that the Chairman and Vice Chairman have joined me in calling on the FDIC Inspector General to conduct a formal investigation of the program and any staff who have played or may have played a role in the program. The bottom line is the FDIC knows the culture at the agency must be changed and I will continue to monitor to make sure the agency sticks to its word.
“I fully intend on reintroducing my legislation because we must ensure these changes will be codified into law, that the Department of Justice ends its misuse of authority, and that other agencies don’t ever fall into this illegal and abusive practice.”