Operation Choke Point: Owner Of Another Victimized Business Speaks

US Attorney General Holder speaks at National Association of Attorneys General  in Washington

Cover image from Daily Caller

Of all of the sneaky, underhanded and frankly, opaque moves by a presidential administration billing itself as “the most transparent in history,” Operation Choke Point has to be among the most anti-American.

A quick refresher as the topic does not surface all that often through the informational haze of blue/black/white/gold dresses, national interest murder cases, and the continuous stream of scandals from the drained swamp we call Washington:

Operation Choke Point is a program by which the Department of Justice works with other administration agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to force banks to shut down accounts of businesses that it objects to. The program purports to fight fraudulent businesses, but has instead targeted many gun and ammunition dealers and other lawful businesses.

How this is done by “Justice” is to lean on the banks, who are dependent on government for certification and regulation, to close the accounts of businesses and individuals engaged in specific “objectionable” markets.  Those would be these:


As objectionable as many of these industries may be to many Americans, it is the LEGISLATURE’s job to identify them and make their economic activity illegal, not the Justice Department.  And it certainly is not that department’s job to tell the banks with whom to do business.  Isn’t that why we have Commerce?

The only way the American public is aware of the program known as “Operation Choke Point” is due to its victims going public with the information that their bank accounts were closed, and access to online payment systems has been blocked.  This week, the Daily Caller published the latest example of a business owner – this time a hookah tobacco distributor – whose business was victimized by the “Justice” Department’s Operation Choke point.  (Audio of a phone call between the owner and the president of the ETF Network payment processor is available at this link.)

Appel’s hookah company had its bank account shut down by Bank of America. Bacon, Appel’s payment processor, explained that Operation Choke Point unilaterally targets certain kinds of businesses and makes business owners’ lives “miserable.”

“Have you heard of a little thing called Choke Point? You know, and the CFPB?,” Bacon asked Appel. “They’re taking aim at industries like you and others to eliminate you from business by choking off your payment processing.”

It doesn’t get much more stark than that.  The first industry that famously surfaced as being targeted for this treatment was pornography, followed by gun dealers.  The first was puzzling, the second downright maddening.  There is only one reason in the United States to shut down gun dealers, and it isn’t the right and resulting freedom stated in the Second Amendment.

Hookah tobacco may not be your thing, but until there is a law that says this man cannot operate his business legitimately, this targeting is unlawful, and quite unAmerican – no matter what the apologists for the regime in the White House have to say.

“They’re going after clinics, they’re going after collection agencies, they’re going after guns dealers, ammunition dealers, payment processors,” Bacon continued.

“We’re going to make your life miserable. Instead of auditing you once a year we’re going to audit you four times a year,” Bacon said, taking the voice of an Operation Choke Point investigator. “If we find anything negative we’re going to write it up and then you’re going to incur increased cost increased focus with your board of directors and from other banking regulators. And they all run scared because they’re all sheep.”

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.