Holder's gun grab via Operation Choke Point - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Holder's gun grab via Operation Choke Point

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Attorney General Eric Holder with President Barack Obama in the Situation Room of the White House during a meeting on the ongoing investigation in the Boston Marathon bombings, April 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Attorney General Eric Holder with President Barack Obama in the Situation Room of the White House during a meeting on the ongoing investigation in the Boston Marathon bombings, April 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Obama administration failed to get gun control passed on Capitol Hill, so it has allegedly used its executive power to try to put the firearms industry out of business.

This revelation came from a report released Thursday by Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Using internal Justice Department documents, the committee concluded that the administration used Operation Choke Point, to target fully-legal companies that it finds “objectionable.”

The committee also reported that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed that the program has been shutting down legal businesses.

“We have documented that they are going after gun and ammunitions manufacturers, gun sellers and non-deposit lenders. Their own memos show they are well beyond enforcing the law,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer  (R-MO) told me in an interview Friday.

Luetkemeyer sponsored an amendment, which the House passed Thursday night, that prohibits federal funds in the next fiscal year from being used to carry out Operation Choke Point. The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act amendment passed by voice vote.

“There is an orchestrated effort by DOJ and FDIC to do away with entire industries instead of going after the bad actors. This is wrong,” said Luetkemeyer, a former bank regulator, who currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee.

He said the goal is to stop the Justice Department by establishing “safe harbors for legal entities to do business.” The congressman said that if the amendment doesn’t fix the problem, he will introduce legislation to do it.

Justice Department spokesman Emily Pierce said Friday that all the assertions by the House committee are “false.” She emailed that the document Issa released actually “make clear that we are targeting fraudulent and illegal behavior.” Pierce said the department will continue to hold “accountable” the financial institutions who process fraudulent transactions.

Operation Choke Point was launched in 2013 to protect consumers by “choking” fraudsters’ access to the banking system. Basically, Justice forces banks and third-party payment processors to stop accepting payments from companies considered “high risk” who are -- supposedly -- violating federal law.

However, the documents released by Issa show that the government lumped the entire firearms industry in with other “high risk” targeted businesses including pornography, drug paraphernalia, escort services, racist materials, ponzi schemes and online gambling.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for firearms and ammunitions manufacturers, said that several of its members have had banking relationships wrongfully terminated as a result Operation Choke Point.

The group protested against the federal government “discriminating against businesses simply because they are engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms.”

Andrew Arulanandam, the National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesman said Saturday that the group is working with members of Congress and affected parties to get answers on the program.

“The efforts of the Obama administration to impose its vision of a ‘fundamentally transformed’ America have already fallen hard on those who value the Second Amendment,” said the NRA spokesman. “Some fear this could be yet another example of his ‘phone and pen’ style of imperial governance.”

Since President Obama was inaugurated, the number of Americans who say they distrust the federal government has gone up from 54% to 60% according to a recent FoxNews.com poll.

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