Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Operation Choke Point; EDITED

EDIT: (Original posted from work, on my phone. Stay tuned for edits after I'm home tonight.  Edited version follows.)
Here's a link to another post, this one on PowerLine Blog, about Operation Choke Point, the Department of Justice effort to squeeze banks to cut off funding/credit to legal businesses that might be politically incorrect:
Choking on the administrative state | Power Line
A couple of quotes:
Glenn Reynolds and Todd Zywicki have written most recently about the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point is vaguely described as a Department of Justice initiative to starve disfavored businesses of financial services, but there is no official account of the program; it is shrouded in secrecy, to borrow Professor Zywicki’s description.
Professor Zywicki commends Tom Blumer’s helpful summary of what is known to date about the operation. He observes that the list of targeted industries is populated by enterprises that are entirely, or at least generally, legal: ammunition sales, escort services, get-quick-rich schemes, online gambling, “racist materials” and payday loans. “Quite obviously,” Professor Zywicki comments, “some of these things are not like the other; moreover, just because there are some bad apples within a legal industry doesn’t justify effectively destroying a legal industry through secret executive fiat.”
Question: Might this be the source of the current, ongoing, annoying, frustrating ammunition shortage? 

I dunno. I do find reports of agencies of the Executive Branch buying hundreds of thousands of rounds unsatisfying as explanations, though...

I originally described this as a "Joint DoJ/Treasury operations";  not really accurate, here's a couple of paragraphs that explain better:
{Glenn Reynolds} describes Operation Choke Point as a Justice Department program, but I suspect it is derivative of the administrative state in which our financial institutions are enmeshed, now more than ever. American Banking Association President Frank Keating’s Wall Street Journal column on the program (behind the Journal’s annoying subscription paywall) takes us a step further into the government’s maw: “Justice launched the effort in early 2013 as a policy initiative of the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulatory agencies.”

Keating doesn’t mention the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, but it is the primary regulator of national banks and is also a member of the task force. The structure of the task force is posted here and a complete list of members is posted here.
Lately I seem to be reading a lot about administrative, bureaucratic, and/or autocratic states, in which there is no accountability, and tyrants petty and otherwise are free to use and abuse their powers in an arbitrary manner to punish their perceived political or social enemies.

I keep looking for evidence that we haven't devolved into such a state, but I'm having to look harder and harder, and evidence is becoming increasingly rare...

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