Obama administration’s payday lender attacks could extend to firearm industry
As the Obama administration continues to aggressively try to shut down payday lenders previously targeted through Operation Chokepoint, some watchers worry that the executive branch could use similar tactics to attack the firearm industry.
In at least three recent cases, the Department of Justice has used anti-racketeering laws set up under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) to go after Native American tribes providing payday loans with interest rates higher than state maximums. The DOJ has focused its attention on lawyers and other partners doing business with the Native American lenders, whose tribal status provides immunity from federal statutes.
People in the payday lending industry say the government’s current attacks are a direct extension of the Obama administration’s efforts to target “risky businesses” with capital controls to make it impossible for them to operate via Operation Chokepoint.
The federal scheme targeted businesses in 30 separate industries including the firearms industry.
In a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed, American Banking Association CEO Frank Keating offered this simple explanation of the program: “Operation Choke Point is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like. Banks must then ‘choke off’ those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.”
The government’s obvious crony attack on legitimate businesses eventually backfired, leading to a lawsuit, congressional hearings and legislative proposals. And for a while, the government backed off.
But the DOJ’s new attempts to use mob-inspired RICO legislation to attack the payday lenders who were originally targeted as part of Choke Point suggest that the Obama administration intends to continue its attack on industries it finds objectionable.
In an interview with The Washington Free Beacon, Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said his group is carefully watching the DOJ in anticipation of the administration’s plans for the gun industry.
“Since gun rights advocates cannot trust the Obama administration we are watching this very closely,” he said. “It would not surprise me if they tried to use this approach to hurt sales of firearms or to blackmail people in the firearms industry as a way to get them to support their anti-gun agenda.”
Even more concerning than what the Obama administration may do in the coming months, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has repeatedly discussed the need for anti-firearm activists to attack gun businesses rather than the 2nd Amendment.
She even talks about 2nd Amendment supporters as though they’re criminals.
“I’m going to do everything I can to rally people against this pernicious, corrupting influence of the NRA,” Clinton said in a recently-surfaced recording.
“And we’re going to do whatever we can. I’m proud when my husband took them on and we were able to ban assault weapons but he had to put a sunset on it so, 10 years later, of course, Bush wouldn’t agree to reinstate them.”
The presidential hopeful added that the “Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.”