By Kit Daniels
For the past several months, the U.S. Department of Justice has been pressuring banks to refuse service to businesses the DOJ is targeting politically, such as gun stores, in a program entitled Operation Choke Point.
Under the program, the DOJ, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is attempting to shut down various legal businesses, including firearm dealers, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia and pornography distributors, by coercing financial institutions to close the bank and merchant accounts associated with these businesses.
Back in March, a Florida couple who own a gun store received a letter from BankUnited informing them that the bank was closing their business account, which they opened seven years prior, and gave them three days to transfer their money elsewhere.
“I was very angry,” Elizabeth Liberti told the Miami New Times. “They were very inconsiderate. We had all our credit cards going through that bank.”
“All of a sudden, we had to run and find another bank to keep our business going. We shut down for two weeks, and they wouldn’t even tell us why.”
BankUnited finally gave them a reason some time later.
“This letter in no way reflects any derogatory reasons for such action on your behalf, but rather one of industry,” wrote branch manager Ricardo Garcia. “Unfortunately your company’s line of business is not commensurate with the industries we work with.”
And it isn’t just gun stores that the Justice Dept. is targeting.