list. Now companies that provide
services to people on the original list are
being targeted. We know of data
companies that supply data to people on
the FDIC’s list and legal firms that do
legal services for people on the list that
are now being targeted.
Until we get Operation Choke Point
stopped, everybody who is on that list
and anybody who services businesses on
that list is at risk.
Are there any more government reports
coming out on Operation Choke Point?
We have requested an Office of the
Inspector General report from both the
Department of Justice and the FDIC,
and both have agreed to do that. The
FDIC has agreed to work with the
inspector general as a result of our
meeting with them back in January.
Those reports are coming out
shortly, but it could be anywhere from
one week to one year. When they do
come out, I think they will be even
more damning of what is going on in
those respective agencies.
Will there be additional hearings about
Operation Choke Point?
I know in the House and I’m sure
the Senate there are still concerns about
Operation Choke Point, so I’m sure
there are going to be additional
hearings, I just don’t know when they
will be scheduled yet.
I know Congressman [Sean] Duffy is
not happy with the results of his recent
The FDIC chairman, Martin
Gruenberg, was not a very
forthcoming witness, so Duffy may
have a hearing where he brings in all
the people who have been affected by
Choke Point to talk about what has
transpired, how it was handled by the
bank and how it was handled by the
FDIC or Department of Justice.
How can your legislation help efforts to
stop Operation Choke Point, even if it’s not
The legislation lays out a plan to, if
nothing else, stop what [the FDIC and
DOJ] are doing and give them solutions
to solve the problem. But it also shows
that we’re watching what goes on. We’re
not happy, and we’re going to continue
to be watchdogs.
I think we’re going to be able to get
[the legislation] out of committee and
get it to the House floor. We’ll see how
far it goes.
But every time we have a vote, and
the vote is against the bureaucracy, it
sends another very intense message that
Congress is not happy, and they’d better
change what’s going on.
What can credit and collection industry
members do to help your efforts to stop
Operation Choke Point?
First, ACA International members
can keep us informed about the actions
of the Department of Justice and FDIC
so we can help you push back.
Second, members need to educate
their representatives in both in the
House and Senate.
[ACA members] should already have
a personal relationship with their
representatives to begin with, and if they
don’t, they need to get one.
I encourage them to sit down and
explain to [their representatives] exactly
what went on with your business. Tell
them how your business is getting ready
to be thrown out the back door solely
because of the industry you are in—not
because you were doing anything illegal
or causing the bank problems.
Those personal stories go a long
way. It gets their attention.
Ask your congressmen and senators
to support our bipartisan bill. Tell them
there is legislation out there to solve
this problem, and ask them to please
sign onto it.
One of the problems we have is
getting the kind of national notice on
this situation that it takes to build the
momentum required to push back. Each
industry has to start getting engaged.
It’s getting the momentum now, but
we need to continue to get media
attention on this and make people
aware of it. If you go talk to 100 people
on the street right now, you won’t find
one person who has heard of Operation
Choke Point. That is problematic.
Collection industry members need
to be talking to congressmen and
senators. This is a big issue, and we all
need to pull together. cm
Anne Rosso is editor of Collector.