Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced his “Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2019,” which will protect small businesses from an unconstitutional directive similar to the 2013 Department of Justice initiative, “Operation Choke Point.” Choke Point was then administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and threatened financial institutions to cut off all banking activities to legally operating businesses deemed “high risk” by these financial agencies.

From 2013 until the initiative ended in 2017, the FDIC and OCC used their enforcement authority to pressure banks not to lend to businesses in industries the agencies found unsavory. Regulators threatened to increase their oversight of banks that chose to continue financing activities with their customers in these industries. The initiative targeted short-term lenders, firearms and ammunition retailers, pawn shops, and other legally operating business, forcing many small businesses to search for unsecured access to capital or close its doors. This legislation ensures the DOJ and all financial regulators will not be able to abuse its enforcement power in an unconstitutional manner again. 

ATR thanks Senators Crapo, Kennedy, Tillis, Sasse, Inhofe, Braun, Lee, Cornyn, and Hyde-Smith for their support by co-sponsoring this bill. ATR president Grover Norquist also thanks Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., for his tireless efforts in the House of Representatives to secure the liberties of legally operating businesses and bring to light this abuse by the Obama administration.

Click here to read the full coalition letter.