Last month, Ed introduced us to Operation Choke Point, the program by which the Justice department is trying to shut down legal operations it just happens not to approve of on moral grounds. As Erika noted a bit later, one attempt at curbing this strong arm tactic already kicked off in the House.
Yesterday, a similar attempt got underway in the Senate, courtesy of Rand Paul. He was specifically attempting to prevent the Feds from using taxpayer funds to punish gun and ammo manufacturers.
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has filed an amendment aimed at protecting Second Amendment rights by preventing two federal agencies from pulling an “end-around” on gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers.
Paul is seeking to amend the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the 2015 budget to prevent any funds given to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or Department of Justice (DOJ) from targeting gun and ammunition companies.
In Paul’s amendment, filed Thursday evening, the FDIC will not be allowed “to classify the sale or manufacture of a firearm or ammunition as an activity involving risk.”
The amendment, the text of which was obtained by The Daily Caller, also bars the DOJ from discouraging “the provision or continuation of credit or the processing of payments by any financial institution to a manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms or ammunition, based on the fact that the business is a manufacturer, dealer or importer of firearms or ammunition.”
As Paul seems to be well aware, once you give the Executive branch a tool to use – ostensibly for a noble purpose – they are more than likely to turn around and employ it in an unpleasant manner other than the original intention. In this case, however, the noble purpose was pretty questionable to begin with. I completely agree that there are some financial services operators out there who are preying on the economically disadvantaged with some dodgy programs such as payday loans and title loans. But if these activities are truly harmful, then the states where they are taking place need to have their legislatures get on the stick and make them illegal. Such assumptions by the White House remove any aspect of both personal responsibility on the part of the consumer and the independent oversight of the states.
But beyond that, as Rand highlights, the same type of rules can be twisted to a new purpose and cut off investment capital to completely legitimate and necessary businesses based simply on the fact that the administration has a personal problem with what they are doing. Under the Obama administration, gun and ammunition manufacturers would be a natural target. And it can all be done without the House or the Senate ever having a say in it.