Rubio moves to terminate ‘Choke Point’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Rubio's pragmatic thinking on China MORE (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation to eliminate “Operation Choke Point,” by cutting off funding to the controversial initiative,

The Justice Department program is aimed at preventing fraud, but Rubio said it’s being used to target gun dealers.

“Operation Choke Point is an attempt by the Obama Administration to weaken 2nd Amendment rights in America,” he said in a statement. “We must stop this administration’s effort to target private industries and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Under choke point, the DOJ has scrutinized banks’ interactions with “high risk” business.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. initially included gun dealers in a list of examples of a potentially “high-risk” sector, that could require extra monitoring by banks. The FDIC later removed the list of examples, saying it created a “misperception that the listed examples of merchant categories were prohibited or discouraged.”

The FDIC went a step further last month, saying that banks should assess risk on a case-by-case basis, rather than declining to work with entire business sectors.

But Second Amendment advocates have continued to suggest that gun retailers are being targeted.

Rubio’s legislation forbids the Justice Department, the FDIC or any other agency from funding “Choke Point.”

It also blocks funding for any program “designed to discourage the provision or continuation of credit or the processing of payments by financial institutions for dealers and manufacturers of firearms and ammunition.”

Rubio is not the first Senate Republican to speak out against the program. GOP members of the Banking Committee said last year that the Justice Department should terminate the program.


“Rather than initiating cases against specific bad actors ... federal agencies devised a list of certain 'high-risk merchant' categories with the intent of 'choking-off' these merchants’ access to payment systems and banking services,” Sens. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoOn The Money: Trump reverses North Korea sanctions imposed by Treasury | Trump to nominate Stephen Moore to Fed | Monthly deficit hits record 4 billion | IRS expands penalty relief for taxpayers Senate confirms Trump court pick despite missing two 'blue slips' Senate reignites blue slip war over Trump court picks MORE (Idaho), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (La.), Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (Neb.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  MORE (Kan.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE (Nev.) and then Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (Okla.) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderGOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Jeff Sessions returns to Justice Department to retrieve Cabinet chair The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain MORE in October.