Rubio moves to terminate ‘Choke Point’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package 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: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Trump, Senate GOP discuss effort to overhaul legal immigration MORE (Idaho), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterSenate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick Progressive group targets Susan Collins over Trump judicial pick 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) MoranOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls GOP senator calls for resolution of trade dispute: 'Farmers and ranchers are hurting' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE (Kan.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary 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 HolderEric Holder: 'There are grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE in October.