Rubio moves to terminate ‘Choke Point’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours Erdoğan got the best of Trump, experts warn 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 CrapoGOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate On The Money: Trump strikes trade deal with Japan on farm goods | GOP senator to meet Trump amid spending stalemate | House passes cannabis banking bill | Judge issues one-day pause on subpoena for Trump's tax returns MORE (Idaho), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLouisiana Republicans score big legislative wins Trump calls on Republicans to vote out Democratic Louisiana governor amid GOP infighting Grocery group hires new top lobbyist 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) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall 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 HolderSupreme Court throws out challenge to Michigan electoral map Amash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials We can't allow presidents and public opinion to further diminish the work of the press MORE in October.