Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio issued a warning that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies on the Financial Services Committee are seeking to resurrect Operation Choke Point-like practices engaged in by the Obama administration.
Operation Choke Point was a Justice Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. initiative launched in 2013 and aimed at cutting off banking services to certain businesses, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Some of the unfavored transactions targeted by federal regulators included the sale of firearms, ammunition, fireworks, dating services, tobacco products and payday loans.
The Trump administration officially ended Operation Choke Point in August 2017, Politico reported. However, legislation making the practices the program employed unlawful has yet to clear Congress.
Davidson, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, recently told The Western Journal that Ocasio-Cortez “essentially in several statements tried to revive the practice of using the financial system to win a debate that they’ve already lost.
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“Trying to use the financial system to effectively say, ‘You’re not going to bank with those people, are you?’”
Davidson pointed to the Democrat congresswoman’s interchange last month with Wells Fargo Bank CEO Timothy Sloan, when he appeared before the Financial Services Committee.
Ocasio-Cortez began her questioning by saying, “I’m interested in the human rights abuses, and environmental disasters that some say are financed by your bank, Wells Fargo.”
She then went on to cite financing the construction of prisons, for-profit Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and the Dakota Access Pipeline as examples.
Ocasio-Cortez zeroed in on the pipeline construction, alleging Wells Fargo was helping deny Native Americans of their territorial rights.
Additionally, she questioned, “Why did Wells Fargo finance this pipeline when it was seen to be environmentally unstable?”
Sloan countered that Wells’ environmental impact experts carefully reviewed the project before giving it a green light. He further noted his bank was one of 17 financing the construction.
Davidson argued this sort of pressure campaign against companies engaging in lawful commerce is wrong.
“It’s a backdoor way to block lawful activities like selling guns, or building pipelines, or producing cars that use internal combustion engines, or raising cattle,” he said.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal calls for the United States to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources by 2030. Currently 11 percent of U.S. energy comes from renewable sources.
Politico reported Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are “trying to shame the lenders into taking a stand on some of the country’s most divisive issues: climate change, gun violence and immigration.”
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According to the news outlet, they are using their position on the Financial Services Committee and their social media presence to target JPMorgan, Chase and Wells Fargo.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and not everything has to be done through legislation explicitly,” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico. “We can also use the tools that we have here to pressure change in other ways as well.”
Davidson tweeted in response to the story, “If it’s legal, it should be bankable. When these ‘bosses’ can’t change the law, they still want to change the outcome – by any means necessary.”
That’s why, “If it’s legal, it should be bankable.” When these “bosses” can’t change the law, they still want to change the outcome – by any means necessary. “You aren’t going to bank THOSE people, are you?” Sound familiar? Same hate, different target. https://t.co/SfyR12dphm
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) March 24, 2019
Davidson — a West Point graduate who majored in American history — pointed out some in the financial sector wrongly engaged in discriminatory practices in the past toward racial, ethnic and religious minorities.
Now the far left wants to use the same tactics to “target lawful businesses.”
The Ohioan went on to argue to the extent the United States adopts the left’s overarching political philosophies, the result will be lost liberty.
Davidson observed that America is “unique in world history” because its founding document, the Declaration of Independence, “says the government is not the giver of your rights. That we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights … among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The socialist, government-controlled utopia offered by Ocasio-Cortez and others is “antithetical to the government we were bequeathed by our founders.”
“You have the opportunity to pursue happiness. You’re not entitled to an outcome that’s relentlessly promised,” Davidson said.
The lawmaker quoted a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “The Constitution does not guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”
Davidson represents Ohio’s 8th congressional district, located in the southwest region of the state.
He was first elected to Congress in a June 2016 special election to fill the seat of former House speaker John Boehner.
The U.S. Army veteran served in the 75th Ranger Regiment and 101st Airborne Division.
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