U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) filed legislation to restore the balance between financial institutions and regulators and protect private industry from the organized bureaucratic intimidation that originated under the Obama Administration.
The legislation, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, passed the House of Representatives in the 114th Congress.
“Last Congress, the House of Representatives took the first step in putting an end, once and for all, to Operation Choke Point by passing my legislation,” Luetkemeyer said. “Although there is a new Administration and Department of Justice in place, this legislation is necessary to ensure that no future Administration will have the opportunity to negatively impact individuals and legal businesses through this unprecedented initiative. We must continue to demand greater transparency and end the practice of allowing government bureaucrats to use personal and political motivations to block financial services to licensed, legally-operating businesses.”
The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would dictate that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others, could not request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason. Any account termination requests or orders would be required to be made in writing and rely on information other than reputational risk. In addition, the legislation strikes the word “affecting” in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), replacing it with “by” or “against.” This is to ensure that the Department of Justice’s once broad interpretation of the law is limited and the original intent of the statute is restored.