Department of Justice
Congress and the Trump Administration may be embarking on making far-reaching changes that will recalibrate the manner in which financial services are regulated in the United States, including amending the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementing rules. We expect to see vigorous debate regarding the appropriate approach to financial services regulation, leading to rewrites of the structures and goals of federal banking and securities agencies and other government agencies.
This page is dedicated to tracking legislative and regulatory developments related to the DOJ.
For more information, please contact David L. Ansell, David J. Harris or Robert J. Rhatigan.
Letter from Stephen Boyd, Assistant Attorney General, to members of Congress regarding Operation Chokepoint (“Boyd Letter”)
The Boyd Letter responds to Congressional inquiries regarding the status of Operation Chokepoint, which was conducted under the Obama Administration. The program was directed at limiting access to the payment system for businesses that in the view of Justice Department (“DOJ”) engaged in questionable business practices.
The Letter states that the investigations under the program are now over and the initiative will not be undertaken again. It further states that the DOJ will not discourage the provision of financial services to lawful industries, including those engaged in short-term lending and firearms-related businesses.
Although Operation Chokepoint was clearly intended to restrict access of parties engaged in schemes to defraud consumers, guidance issued by FDIC was viewed as expanding its reach to a broader range of “high-risk” merchants. Although the FDIC rescinded this guidance, it generated significant controversy and was the subject of Congressional and Inspector General review and litigation. The Trump Administration appears to wish to send a clear signal that the DOJ will limit its future focus in this area to conduct involving fraud and other criminal activity.