Legislation Prompted by Obama-era Operation Choke Point to Deny Banking Services to Firearm Businesses

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today joined with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to introduce legislation to block unconstitutional initiatives like the Obama-era program that pressured financial institutions from offering banking services to businesses selling firearms and other lawful products.

The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (S.3003) would prohibit the federal government from coercing banking institutions to deny services to businesses based solely on “reputation risk.”  The legislation strikes at initiatives like President Obama’s “Operation Choke Point,” which was intended to deny banking services to firearms-related businesses.

“Obama-era policies, such as Operation Choke Point, represented a direct assault on Second Amendment rights.  This strong legislation would act to protect those rights, as well as the spirit of free enterprise that makes the American economy so strong,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This bill is needed to stop the federal government under any administration from abusing financial regulations to target businesses, large or small, that offer firearms or other lawful products.”

The legislation would prohibit any federal banking agency from requesting or ordering a depository institution to terminate a customer account unless the agency has a valid reason for doing so, and that reason is not based solely on reputation risk.

In response to Operation Choke Point, the bill would also provide greater accountability and oversight of the Department of Justice and federal banking regulators, including the FDIC, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and National Credit Union Administration.

In addition to Hyde-Smith, other original cosponsors include Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

A summary of S.3003 is available here.

Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith Press Release