Government Payday Choke Hold
For all the coverage of Donald Trump’s Twitter blasts against one company or another, hardly anyone notices that the Obama Administration has spent years targeting entire industries merely because the left dislikes them. Case in point is the onslaught against payday lenders, and a lawsuit presents an opportunity to expose an extralegal cross-agency campaign.
In 2013 the Justice Department launched Operation Choke Point, which involves pressuring banks to cut off financial services for payday lenders, no evidence of lawbreaking required. According to a House Oversight Committee report, the Justice Department has pumped out subpoenas under a statute that allows the government to go after outfits that commit fraud against banks, not punish banks that do legal business with legal businesses.
The operation seems to have been coordinated among several agencies. A report last year from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Inspector General found that three of six FDIC regional directors thought their job description included discouraging banks from servicing payday lenders. A former director of the Atlanta office told his staff: “Any banks even remotely involved in payday should be promptly brought to my attention.”