news.cuna.org/articles/DOJ,_FDIC_agree_to_investigation_of_Operation_Choke_Point_roles

DOJ, FDIC agree to investigation of Operation Choke Point roles

November 17, 2014

WASHINGTON (11/18/14)--The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have each agreed to launch an investigation into Operation Choke Point, according to a release from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).

Luetkemeyer and 33 Republican representatives previously wrote  to the DOJ and FDIC inspectors general offices requesting an investigation into Operation Choke Point.

"The FDIC has committed to conducting a review of the agency's activities related to Operation Choke Point to ensure that the actions taken were consistent with laws and regulations and they will investigate charges that a senior FDIC official provided false testimony to Congress," Luetkemeyer said in a statement Monday.

"The DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility has opened an inquiry and will gather and review material applicable to Operation Choke Point. In the meantime, I will continue to push for more transparency and information as to how this unprecedented program was implemented."

Operation Choke Point was introduced in 2013 as a DOJ initiative, allowing its Financial Fraud Task Force to investigate whether financial institutions and payment processing companies were enabling fraudulent activity. It came under fire after businesses and others claimed the initiative was separating consumers from access to financial services.

Luetkemeyer and a bipartisan group of five members of Congress successfully added an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill in June denying funds to operate Operation Choke Point.

The amendment passed by voice vote on the House floor but has not been considered by the Senate.