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H.R. 766, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2015, is expected to pass this week.  This is a bill to stop Operation Choke Point from discriminating against legal business owners in access to financial services.  Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) should be commended for his fight on this important legislation.

On May 29, 2014, the House Oversight Committee found last year the following in a report titled "DOJ's Operation Choke Point Secretly Pressured Banks to Cut Ties with Legal Business."

The Chairman of the Committee at the time was Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and he put together an excellent oversight report on the issue. 

  • Operation Choke Point was created by the Justice Department to “choke out” companies the Administration considers a “high risk” or otherwise objectionable, despite the fact that they are legal businesses.  The goal of the initiative is to deny these merchants access to the banking and payments networks that every business needs to survive.
  • Operation Choke Point has forced banks to terminate relationships with a wide variety of entirely lawful and legitimate merchants.  The initiative is predicated on the claim that providing normal banking services to certain merchants creates a “reputational risk” sufficient to trigger a federal investigation.  Acting in coordination with Operation Choke Point, bank regulators labeled a wide range of lawful merchants as “high-risk” – including coin dealers, firearms and ammunition sales, and short-term lending.  Operation Choke Point effectively transformed this guidance into an implicit threat of a federal investigation.
  • The Department is aware of these impacts, and has dismissed them.  Internal memoranda on Operation Choke Point acknowledge the program’s impact on legitimate merchants.  Senior officials informed Attorney General Eric Holder that as a consequence of Operation Choke Point, banks are exiting entire lines of business deemed “high risk” by the government.
  • The Department lacks adequate legal authority for the initiative.  Operation Choke Point is being executed through subpoenas issued under Section 951 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989.  The intent of Section 951 was to give the Department the tools to pursue civil penalties against entities that commit fraud against banks, not private companies doing legal business.  Documents produced to the Committee demonstrate the Department has radically and unjustifiably expanded its Section 951 authority.
  • Contrary to the Department’s public statements, Operation Choke Point was primarily focused on the payday lending industry.  Internal memoranda and communications demonstrate that Operation Choke Point was focused on short-term lending, and online lending in particular.  Senior officials expressed their belief that its elimination would be a “significant accomplishment” for consumers.

The Luetkemeyer bill is a great first step to stem the discrimination against legal businesses coming from the Obama Administration and his appointees at the Department of Justice.

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Eric Holder's Justice Department worked directly with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to deny legal businesses banking and lending services according to a new new House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The report,“Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Involvement in ‘Operation Choke Point’,” details the agency's close relationship with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to deny banking services to gun stores, porn stars and even short-term lenders. 

The investigation by the Committee found documents revealing that the DOJ actively partnered with the FDIC in the prosecution of the infamous "Operation Choke Point." FDIC’s participation in Operation Choke Point included requests for information about the investigation, discussions of legal theories and the application of banking laws, and the review of documents involving FDIC-supervised institutions obtained by DOJ in the course of its investigation. FDIC also originated the list of “high risk” industries included in the DOJ subpoenas. Documents provided to the Committee also show that senior leadership at the FDIC opposed certain industries on purely moral and political grounds.

The Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee issued a scathing statement denouncing the FDIC and DOJ:  “It’s appalling that our government is working around the law to vindictively attack businesses they find objectionable,” said Rep. Darrell Issa.  “Internal FDIC documents confirm that Operation Choke Point is an extraordinary abuse of government power. In the most egregious cases, federal bureaucrats injected personal moral judgments into the regulatory process. Such practices are totally inconsistent with basic principles of good government, transparency, and the rule of law.”

Key findings by the Committee include: 

1)  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the primary federal regulator of over 4,500 banks, targeted legal industries. FDIC’s explicitly intended its list of “high-risk merchants” to influence banks’ business decisions. FDIC policymakers debated ways to ensure that bank officials saw the list and “get the message.”

2)  Documents produced to the Committee reveal that senior FDIC policymakers oppose payday lending on personal grounds, and attempted to use FDIC’s supervisory authority to prohibit the practice.  Personal animus towards payday lending is apparent throughout the documents produced to the Committee.  Emails reveal that FDIC’s senior-most bank examiners “literally cannot stand payday,” and effectively ordered banks to terminate all relationships with the industry. 

3) In a particularly egregious example, a senior official in the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection insisted that FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg’s letters to Congress and talking points always mention pornography when discussing payday lenders and other industries, in an effort to convey a “good picture regarding the unsavory nature of the businesses at issue.”

4) FDIC equated legitimate and regulated activities such as coin dealers and firearms and ammunition sales with inherently pernicious or patently illegal activities such as Ponzi schemes, debt consolidation scams, and drug paraphernalia.

Most Second Amendment advocates noted that Operation Choke Point was nothing more than a backdoor effort to put gun stores out of business.  

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Michael Sam isn’t heroic. How many other people drafted that late become that famous and make that much money? None.

Do you know who is heroic? Alejandro Villanueva.

This tribute to Alejandro is written by another hero, Allen West:

The NFL draft is over and there was much ado over former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the first openly gay football player, Michael Sam. Of course, more media attention was given to Sam and “that kiss” when he learned he was drafted.

And astonishingly enough, comments about Sam’s kiss with his boyfriend drew some football players fines and a trip to adult timeout. Remember when NBA player, Jason Collins, came out as openly gay and the attention he received? Front page covers and a call from the president himself.

However, has anyone heard even a peep about Alejandro Villanueva? Well, he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles – a strapping fella at 6’9″ and most important, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, and a former Army Ranger.

The defensive lineman spent the past four years as an active member of the United States Army. The Eagles watched him perform at a regional combine in Detroit last month. He last played football in 2009 for Army as a wide receiver, converting to that position before his senior season. Villanueva served as the Black Knights’ offensive captain in 2009 and led the team in receptions (34), yards (522) and touchdowns (five). He began his career at Army as a reserve defensive lineman and transitioned to left tackle in 2008, starting all 12 games at that position as a junior.

Villanueva graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in systems engineering and was commissioned into the Army in May 2010 as a lieutenant in the infantry. During his first deployment to Afghanistan, Villanueva earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor for moving forward under enemy fire to pull wounded soldiers from an isolated position, according to the Eagles’ release. He later volunteered for the U.S. Army Rangers program and served two more tours in Afghanistan.

Villanueva will bring to the Eagles a sense of duty and honor and a toughness that goes beyond just playing the game of football.

This guy wasn’t afraid of taking a bullet for this country, I doubt he is afraid of his competition in the NFL.  I wish him nothing but the best, success, and happiness.  I will definitely be cheering this patriot on!

READ AT:  http://youngcons.com/the-hero-in-the-nfl-that-everyone-should-be-talking-about-isnt-michael-sam-its-this-guy/#.U3UwFtvKNM8.twitter

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Good Point

~Limbaugh Nailed This One~Love him or loathe him, he nailed this one right on the head..........By Rush Limbaugh:I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country inUniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either,because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11.Well, I can't let the numbers pass bybecause it says something really disturbing about theentitlement mentality of this country.If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you'regoing to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimumguarantee of$250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.?If you are a surviving family member of an American soldierkilled in action, the first check you get is a$6,000 direct death benefit,half of which is taxable.Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs.If you are the surviving spouse, you get$833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of$211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18,those payments come to a screeching halt.Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of$1.185 million up to$4.7 million are complainingthat it's not enough.?Their deaths were tragic, but for most,they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.?Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and theyand their families know the dangers. (Actually, soldiers are put inharms way by politicians and commanding officers.)We also learned over the weekend that some of the victimsfrom the Oklahoma City bombing havestarted an organization asking for the same deal that theSeptember 11 families are getting.In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in theembassies are now asking for compensation as well.You see where e this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part andparcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country.It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military,they usually receive next tonothing of a raise.Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East whiletheir families have to survive on food stamps andlive in low-rent housing.?Make sense?However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise.Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congressone time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus.They do not receive Social Security on retirement becausethey didn't have to pay into the system. If some of themilitary people stay in for 20 years and get out as anE-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month,and the very people who placed them in harm's wayreceives a pension of $15,000 per month.I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weaponand join ranks before they start cutting out benefits andlowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting."When do we finally do something about this?"If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward thisto as many people as you can.How many people CAN YOU send this to?****************************How many WILL YOU?
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