Justice Department Harasses, Punishes, and Tries to Destroy Legal Businesses Through Banks

The Department of Justice has its own secret drone program—it is called Operation Chokepoint and its drones are banks.  According to Jason Oxman in The Hill, the department is attacking “disfavored – but legal – categories of merchants by targeting our nation’s payments systems.”

So now we can go after “disfavored, but legal” businesses by making banks refuse to do business with them.

The “chokepoint” in this operation is the nation’s payments infrastructure, the means by which merchants process nearly $5 trillion in consumer purchases in the U.S. each year.  Federal law enforcers are targeting merchant categories like payday lenders, ammunition and tobacco sales, and telemarketers – but not merely by pursuing those merchants directly.  Rather, Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands. 

The theory behind this enforcement program has superficial logic: increase the legal and compliance costs of serving certain disfavored merchant categories, and payments companies will simply stop providing service to such merchants.  And it’s working – payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that – although providing a legal service – are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities.

Did you notice the mention of ammunition? The Department of [so-called] Justice is deliberately harassing legal businesses for offering legal services to other legal businesses. It is openly attempting to drive people out of business because it doesn’t like them, with absolutely no legal reason to do so. And if we know anything about this Justice Department, we know they want to go after gun businesses (except for the ones they use to transfer guns to their favored drug cartels).

Infowars points to this story about a gun dealer in Florida being told to transfer his money because they would no longer allow him to have accounts with them.

A March 12 letter mysteriously informed them that BankUnited was closing their checking account “pursuant to the terms and conditions listed in our Depositor’s Agreement.” It gave the Libertis three days to transfer their cash elsewhere. When the Libertis called BankUnited for an explanation, they were politely informed that none would be forthcoming.

The (aptly named!) Libertis eventually decided their troubles were due to a New York bank buying out their local one and being under the influence of Michael Bloomberg. But Infowars is sure that it is due to the DOJ’s “choke point.” Weirdly, they point out another business also attacked by banks: porn stars.

Chase Bank has reportedly sent out letters to hundreds of porn stars notifying them that their accounts would be closed on May 11. Teagan Presley confirmed to XBIZ that her personal account was one of the ones shut down.

“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” Presley told XBIZ. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account. Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”

I am completely OK with businesses not doing business with some people on moral grounds. But I find it impossible to believe that Chase initiated this move due to its high moral standards. It is much easier to believe the Department of Justice is doing this. As much as I would like porn to be illegal, the fact remains that it is legal. If this is the Department of Justice’s handiwork then they are engaged in criminal behavior.

Besides, we have already been told that you are never permitted to refuse service on moral grounds. So how is it OK to do it against gun merchants and porn stars?