Ending Operation Choke Point

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about five Republican Congressmen who have asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Operation Choke Point.

The article explains:

As reported extensively by The Daily Signal, the Obama Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, designed Operation Choke Point in 2012 to “attack internet, telemarketing, mail, and other mass market fraud against consumers, by choking fraudsters’ access to the banking system.”

The program works by using federal banking regulators to pressure banks out of doing business with entire industries the government declares to be “high risk,” choking their access to the U.S. banking system.

But instead of simply targeting illegal, fraudulent businesses, the program also affected legal business owners, who complained they were being unfairly denied credit and losing access to third-party payment processors central to running their businesses.

Over the past two years, The Daily Signal documented multiple cases of banks’ denying legal business owners access to banking services.

I reported in June of 2014 (here) that Mark Cohen, owner of Powderhorn Outfillters, a store in Hyannis, Massachusetts, that sells guns was denied a loan by TD bank because of the fact the he sold guns.

I quoted a Breitbart.com article, which reported:

Cohen explained what happened in an interview with The Daily Caller on Friday.

“This year I went to apply for a line of credit, and the bank manager came by the store,” said Cohen, adding that he’s known the bank manager for over 20 years.

“Mark, I apologize,” she said, according to Cohen, “your credit history is great, but the bank is turning you down because you sell guns.”

That is only one example of how Operation Choke Point was used to interfere with honest businessmen trying to earn a living. Payday lenders were also targeted by Operation Choke Point, and Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents some of the nation’s largest short-term lenders, such as Advance America, filed a lawsuit.

The Daily Signal provides a few details about the lawsuit:

The suit named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the government agency responsible for creating a “high risk list” of industries to target. That list grouped categories such as “racist materials” and “credit card schemes” with “firearms” and “tobacco” sales.

In July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that payday lenders may press forward with their lawsuit against the FDIC and begin the discovery phase. That phase allows the plaintiffs to depose government officials under oath and examine documents and emails related to the program.

“We are thrilled by the court’s order to enter the discovery phase, as this illegal federal program has been unduly harming legal entities for years,” Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association, said in a July press release. “It is high time that the government’s unlawful and unjust crusade against lawful and licensed businesses be stopped.”

The article also reports the following:

In April 2016, one of President Barack Obama’s top Justice Department officials behind Operation Choke Point admitted the program had “unintended but collateral consequences” on banks and consumers.

No kidding. Actually, I am not convinced the consequences were unintended.

 

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation Is Attempting To Do Its Job

Fox News is reporting today that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails to see whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws.

The article reports:

“The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed,” one source said.

The development follows press reports over the past year about the potential overlap of State Department and Clinton Foundation work, and questions over whether donors benefited from their contacts inside the administration.

The Clinton Foundation is a public charity, known as a 501(c)(3). It had grants and contributions in excess of $144 million in 2013, the most current available data.  

The article notes that there is pressure building inside the FBI to pursue this aspect of the case.

The article further reports:

One of the three sources said some FBI agents felt Petraeus was given a slap on the wrist for sharing highly classified information with his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell, as well as lying to FBI agents about his actions. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2015 after a two-plus-year federal investigation in which Attorney General Eric Holder initially declined to prosecute. 

In the Petraeus case, the exposure of classified information was assessed to be limited.

By contrast, in the Clinton case, the number of classified emails has risen to at least 1,340. A 2015 appeal by the State Department to challenge the “Top Secret” classification of at least two emails failed and, as Fox News first reported, is now considered a settled matter. 

…Separately, a former high-ranking State Department official emphasized to Fox News that Clinton’s deliberate non-use of her government email address may be increasingly “significant.” 

“It is virtually automatic when one comes on board at the State Department to be assigned an email address,” the source said.

“It would have taken an affirmative act not to have one assigned … and it would also mean it was all planned out before she took office. This certainly raises questions about the so-called legal advice she claimed to have received from inside the State Department that what she was doing was proper.”

There are a lot of loose threads in this story. If Hillary Clinton is held accountable for her actions, how does that impact the Democratic presidential race? President Obama will ultimately determine whether the Justice Department blocks further investigation or action by the FBI in this matter. Does President Obama want Hillary Clinton out of the race so that Joe Biden can step in? Is that even possible with candidate registration dates in the primary elections? Does President Obama want Bernie Sanders to run as President on the Democratic ticket? In a perfect world, Hillary Clinton would probably be in jail for the way she handled classified information and for the corruption in the Clinton Foundation, but we do not live in a perfect world. This investigation is something we need to be aware of–whether the FBI expands its investigation or is forced to shut it down will be an indication of how corrupt our government has become.

 

A Circumstantial Smoking Gun

The Internet has gone a bit crazy (as it sometimes does) about new Hillary Clinton emails released that show her instructing someone to remove the classified header and footing from a classified document and then send it over a regular fax machine. That is a serious offense that would send an ordinary citizen to jail. Therein lies the problem–Hillary Clinton is not an ordinary citizen. That is not a problem for Hillary–that is a problem for America. Somehow we have forgotten the concept of equal justice under the law.

Ed Morrissey posted the details of the story at Hot Air yesterday. The article includes a picture of the email in question. I recommend going to Hot Air and reading the entire article, but here are some highlights:

Has the State Department released a smoking gun in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal? In a thread from June 2011, Hillary exchanges e-mails with Jake Sullivan, then her deputy chief of staff and now her campaign foreign-policy adviser, in which she impatiently waits for a set of talking points. When Sullivan tells her that the source is having trouble with the secure fax, Hillary then orders Sullivan to have the data stripped of its markings and sent through a non-secure channel.

I don’t even have the words to tell you how much of a ‘no-no’ that is when dealing with classified information. The relevant criminal (yes, I said criminal) statutes are posted in the article at Hot Air.

There is an update to the article at Hot Air that concludes:

Update: There are a few people wondering whether the “TPs” (talking points”) in question in this thread were classified in the first place. There are a couple points to remember in that context:

  • Unclassified material doesn’t need to be transmitted by secure fax; if the material wasn’t classified, Sullivan would have had them faxed normally.
  • Ordering aides to remove headers to facilitate the transmission over unsecured means strongly suggests that the information was not On top of that, removing headers to avoid transmission security would be a violation of 18 USC 793 anyway, which does not require material to be classified — only sensitive to national security.
  • State did leave this document unclassified, but that’s because there isn’t any discussion of what the talking points cover. They redacted the subject headers with B5 and B6 exemptions, invoked to note that the FOIA demand doesn’t cover the material (in their opinion).

Ordering the headings stripped, and Sullivan’s apparent reluctance to work around the secure fax system, makes it all but certain that the material was classified at some level — and Hillary knew it.

I am sharing this information because it is something voters need to be aware of. Do I think this will amount to anything? No. I have become somewhat cynical about enforcing any laws regarding the Clintons. Unless the FBI decides to go against the obvious political biases of the Justice Department, this is not going anywhere. If there is someone in the FBI who has enough ethics and backbone to pursue this, we might see something, but I doubt it. General Patraeus was charged and convicted of a much lesser infraction and was dealt with. He obviously was not part of the in crowd and did not know where enough of the bodies were buried. The Clintons know where all the bodies are buried and probably helped bury a few of them.

 

The Problem With Spin Is That It Doesn’t Work When There Is Actual Evidence

I posted an article this morning about Jame O’keefe’s video showing how easy voter fraud is in Washington, D. C.  This is the link to the video at YouTube showing exactly what happened (or scroll down two articles and watch it there). Please watch until the end to hear what the person assumed to be impersonating Eric Holder says as he goes to get his identification. It’s brilliant! Anyway, enough of that.

Breitbart.com posted an article today giving the response of the Justice Department to the video.

The article reports:

Desperate to prove that voter ID should not be presented in order to obtain a ballot, the DOJ fired back at O’Keefe and Project Veritas today, with a DOJ official telling tried-and-true media ally Talking Points Memo, “It’s no coincidence that these so-called examples of rampant voter fraud consistently turn out to be manufactured ones.”

Don’t the manufactured examples show how easily the real voter fraud occurs?

Please follow the link to the Breitbart.com story and read the entire article. Also read the comments–they are also very interesting.

 

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Why We Need Voter Identification Laws Before November

Sometimes voter fraud is so poorly done it’s amazing anyone gets away with it. Recently James O’Keefe pulled off one of his sting operations in Washington, D. C., that should have been a total failure. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

National Review Online reports today that last Tuesday in the Washington, D. C., primary election, James O’Keefe was given a ballot after misleading the person at the ballot box to believe that he was Eric Holder.

The video of this and various other related incidents can be found at YouTube:

 

The article at National Review points out that James O’Keefe never actually committed fraud because he never specifically claimed to be Eric Holder. If you watch the video of the incident carefully, you can see how carefully worded his statements were. When I posted this article on Monday morning, only 39 people had seen the video. If Americans want an honest election in November, that number needs to increase exponentially.

There will be a response from the Justice Department to this video. I suspect that the first thing they will try to do is charge James O’Keefe with some sort of illegal activity for making his point about voter fraud. Next, they will continue to proclaim that voter fraud does not exist, even though the video shows that it does. They will NOT have an honest discussion of voter fraud and the need for strong voter identification laws.

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I Had To Go To Pravda To Get This Story

I am not kidding. I found the link to this information at Pravda (Russian for ‘truth”). I wonder why they are posting the story, considering that President Obama is their friend, but on the other hand, the current Russian government is not known for its pro-American feelings. How would the Russians feel about President Joe Biden? That is just a scary thought.

Anyway, the Tea Party Tribune (who knew they had a publication?) posted a memo by nine state Attorneys General listing the ways the Obama Administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law.

This is the list of violations:

  • FCC: Regulation of the Internet in the face of a court order from Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. stating that the FCC does not have the power to regulate the Internet
  • PPACA: Individual Mandate; To be heard by Supreme Court of the United States in March
  • EPA 1: GHG lawsuit; EPA’s own Inspector General reported last September that EPA failed to comply with its own data standards; Heard in Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. in February
  • OSM: Attempting to impose regulatory requirements on the 19 states with authority for exclusive regulation of their coalmines for the first time in more than 30 years
  • NLRB: Boeing; Engaged in unprecedented behavior as described by former Chairmen under both Presidents Bush (43) and Clinton; behavior is best exemplified in South Carolina where the Board tried to muzzle over 80 percent of state voters who supported a secret ballot amendment to the South Carolina Constitution and attempted unsuccessfully to tell an employer in the state where they can and cannot base manufacturing facilities
  • EPA: Florida Water; EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria pre-empted Florida standards; U.S. District Judge upheld the state’s site-specific alternative criteria for streams and rivers
  • EPA: Texas Air; TX filed lawsuit challenging Cross-State Air Pollution Rules; application rule to TX was particularly dubious because state was included in the regulation at the last minute and without an opportunity to respond to the proposed regulation; regulation was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from TX affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas
  • EPA: Oklahoma Air; EPA illegally usurped Oklahoma’s authority in the Clean Air Act to determine the state’s own plan for addressing sources of emissions that affect visibility, by imposing a federal implementation plan; Federal plan goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in $2 billion in cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan, and a permanent increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of electricity; Obama Administration is fighting Oklahoma’s appeal, which was filed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • HHS: Religious Liberty; HHS mandated religious entities such as Catholic, Baptist and Jewish schools and churches be required to provided medical services they find unconscionable to their employees; President attempted to compromise with an “accommodation” in name only that required insurance companies to provide the services for free to the religious organization employees; Accommodation made matters worse as many religious-base hospitals and schools are self-insurers; Seven Attorneys General filed suit to protect religious liberty and oppose the HHS mandate
  • DOJ: South Carolina & Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States; DOJ ignored section 8 of the Voting Rights Act which calls for protections against voter fraud, and used section 5 to administratively block measures to protect the integrity of elections passed by state legislatures in preclearance states including South Carolina; South Carolina voter ID law merely requires a voter to show photo identification in order to vote or to complete an affidavit at the pain of perjury if the voter does not have a photo ID
  • DOJ: Arizona & Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States
  • DOJ: Arizona Immigration; In violation of 10th Amendment, federal government to sue to prevent AZ from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within Arizona’s borders; Affects Arizona because state has a large percentage, compared to other states, of illegal immigrants and need to be able to act to reduce the number
  • DOJ: Alabama Immigration; The DOJ challenged Alabama’s immigration reform laws after parts were “green lighted” by a federal judge; DOJ appealed the ruling; parts of the AL case have been struck down in various federal courts; specific provisions of the law include collection of the immigration status of public school students, businesses must use E-Verify, prohibition of illegal immigrants receiving public benefits; the provision requiring immigrants to always carry alien registration cards; allowance of lawsuits by state citizens who do not believe public officials are enforcing the law
  • DOJ: South Carolina Immigration; DOJ challenged South Carolina’s immigration reform laws that are very similar to the AZ which is scheduled to appear before the United States Supreme Court; SC case will be heard by the 4th Circuit soon there after as the 4th Circuit granted SC motion to extend the filing time until after the US Supreme Court issues an Opinion in AZ
  • Congressional: “Recess” appointments to NLRB (three) and CFPB (one)
  • EEOC: Hosanna Tabor (MI); Sought to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church
  • DOE: Yucca Mountain; In 2009, Administration arbitrarily broke federal law and derailed the most studied energy project in American history when DOE announced intent to withdraw 8,000 page Yucca Mountain licensing application with prejudice; SC and Washington State filed suit, as a result, contesting the unconstitutional action; American people have paid more than $31 billion (including interest) through percentages of electric rate fees towards the project and taxpayers have footed an addition $200 million in legal feeds and over $2 billion in judgments against the DOE for breaking contracts associated with Yucca Mountain
    1. DOI: Glendale Casino (AZ); Glendale is a violation because the Federal Government is forcing a family-oriented town, Glendale, to become another Las Vegas against its will.  Essentially, the Federal Government has granted ‘reservation status’ to a 54-acre plot in the same town, where the Tohono O’odham Nation plans to build a resort and casino.

My question is simple, “Where is the media on this?” Why did I have to go to Pravda to find the link? The current administration needs to be reminded legally in a big way what the U.S. Constitution says about the government’s power in America. If the media won’t do that, the people need to do it in November.

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I Think There Is A Problem With This

 America has three branches of government–the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. The idea is to divide the power so that no one branch takes control of the government. There is also the added benefit that each branch protects its own interests by keeping an eye on what the other branches are doing. Thus, we have Congressional hearings when the Executive branch gets a little feisty. The purpose of these hearings is to hold everyone accountable. The process works when everyone is held accountable. The process does not work when information is withheld from Congressional committees and the committees cannot properly do their work.
 

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported on some recent testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Operation Fast and Furious hearings. It seems that Attorney General Holder has not been entirely forthcoming with his emails regarding Operation Fast and Furious.

The article reports the following testimony:

“Most of the 5,000 documents you turned over are emails,” Issa said to Holder. “Mr. Attorney General, I have a question for you. Not one of these emails, in fact, is yours. Aren’t you a prolific emailer?”

Holder responded that, “No,” he is not a “prolific emailer.”

Issa followed up: “Don’t you email?”

Holder responded in the affirmative. “Do you have a personal email account as well as an attorney general email account?” Issa pressed.

“I have an email account at the Justice Department, yes,” Holder equivocated.

If I remember correctly, the press went after former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for using her personal email account for business when she was governor. Somehow the major press is not noticiing that the Attorney General seems to have done the same thing.

The article further reports:

Holder continued to avoid the line of questioning, and said that he’s provided an “unprecedented” amount of documents to Congress. But, he still wouldn’t cite a legal reason why he’s refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas and requests.

“In making production determinations, we have followed what attorneys general in the past have always used — applicable standards, whether these are Republican or Democrat attorneys general,” Holder said. “The information we’ve provided you has been responsive, has been, I think, wholesome and also unprecedented.”

I think this is political-speak for I am not going to willingly give you the information you are looking for–you are going to have to come after it. I hope Committee Chairman Representative Darrell Issa will do just that.

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