Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy Confirms Congressional Hearings Will be Held on Operation Choke Point

Reuters/Jim Young
Reuters/Jim Young

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) confirms that Congress will hold hearings on Operation Choke Point in February.

On Thursday Breitbart News cited sources reporting that Duffy, the new chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, planned on holding such hearings in his subcommittee early next month.

“Operation Choke Point began as a means of combating fraudulent businesses — but evolved into an arbitrary list of businesses targeted by bureaucrats in the DOJ and banking regulators purely on moral grounds, backed by no legislation,” Fox News explained on Friday.

Rep. Duffy told the network that the administration is targeting businesses it doesn’t approve of. “What they’ve done is they put short-term lenders out of business, gun dealers out of business, ammunition manufacturers out of business. Because in America, if you can’t bank, you can’t do business,” he said.

As first reported at Breitbart News on Tuesday, Mike Schuetz, a former Wisconsin state employee who once protested in Madison against Governor Scott Walker’s program to reduce the powers of state public employee unions, opened a bank account at the Heritage Credit Union for his legal gun dealership in Hawkins. A week after he opened that account in November, officials at the Heritage Credit Union told Schuetz they had to close his bank account due to pressure from the National Credit Union Administration.

Schuetz has extensive audio recordings of officials with the Heritage Credit Union that support his claim.

The CEO of Heritage Credit Union later told Breitbart News that its initial decision to close down Schuetz’s bank account was not due to NCUA pressure, and that Mr. Schuetz is now eligible to reopen his bank account.

Brian Wise, senior adviser to the United States Consumer Coalition, which has led the fight to expose and end the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point abuses, scoffed at the denials from both the Heritage Credit Union and the National Credit Union Administration that Obama administration pressure had nothing to do with the closing of Schuetz’s bank account.

Schuetz subsequently opened a bank account for his gun dealership at a bank that is not regulated by the National Credit Union Administration.

But Rep. Duffy warns that the ability of business owners in industries targeted by Operation Choke Point for shut down on grounds of morality–gun dealers, pay day lenders, and other–to maintain bank accounts at financial institutions other than credit unions will last only until the relevant financial regulatory authorities start applying the same pressure tactics that the National Credit Union Administration applied to Heritage Credit Union.

Breitbart News first broke the story of the existence of the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point in January 2014. At the time, Breitbart News reported that the objective of the operation was “to destroy sectors of the private lending industry,” as well as gun and ammunition dealers.

“The story of Mike Schuetz is only the tip of the iceberg,” the United States Consumer Coalition’s Wise told Breitbart News on Saturday in an exclusive interview.

“We believe there are thousands of other victims who have lost their bank accounts due to Operation Choke Point but don’t realize that this is the reason. I trust that with Congressman Duffy’s leadership on this issue in Congress, those responsible for this misguided attempt to eliminate these businesses will be held accountable,” Wise said.

“The United States Consumer Coalition will continue to work with Mr. Duffy and lead the charge to stop Operation Choke Point,” Wise promised.

Sources tell Breitbart News that Representative Duffy may not be the only Congressional committee chairman who will hold hearings on the Obama administration’s controversial Operation Choke Point.


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