According to a recent white paper published by four members of the law firm Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, U.S. bank regulators are attempting to “drive crypto businesses out of the financial system.” The paper, titled “Operation Chokepoint 2.0,” claims that after laying the groundwork by labeling lawful businesses as “reputationally risky,” federal bank regulators, with the help of state officials, “turned to the task of purging their accounts from each of the banks subject to their supervision.”
Constitutional Issues Raised by Operation Chokepoint 2.0: Depriving Businesses of Due Process and Key Structural Constitutional Protections
Five days ago, Bitcoin.com News published an article that examines recent discussions in the crypto community regarding “Operation Chokepoint” and why crypto proponents believe the U.S. government aims to eliminate access to cryptocurrencies. On Monday, the Washington D.C. law firm Cooper & Kirk published a white paper on the subject, noting that U.S. bank regulators are ostensibly waging a “clandestine financial war” against the crypto industry.
The paper’s authors, David Thompson, John Ohlendorf, Harold Reeves, and Joseph Masterman, begin by explaining “Operation Chokepoint 1.0” before delving into “Operation Chokepoint 2.0.” The first iteration of the alleged operation began by labeling legal and law-abiding crypto entities as “reputationally risky.”
The second stage of the operation attempts to choke the crypto industry by restricting access to on and off-ramps. According to the Cooper & Kirk paper, “in the back rooms of banks around the country, bank examiners explained that those financial institutions that continued to serve customers that the federal regulators had labeled ‘reputationally risky’ would suffer the consequences.”
The law firm explains that one of the first acts committed was when the Biden administration’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) rescinded a rule designed to “ensure fair access to banking services for several industries—including debt collection—previously cut off during the controversial Obama-era program Operation Chokepoint.”
The Cooper & Kirk authors further detail that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) got involved on April 7, 2022. At that time, the FDIC issued a letter to all institutions under its supervision, asking for information concerning their interest in serving the crypto industry and banks that are already engaged with businesses of this nature. Cooper & Kirk’s white paper asserts that Operation Chokepoint 2.0 is unlawful and unconstitutional.
“Operation Choke Point 2.0 deprives businesses of their constitutional rights to due process in violation of the Fifth Amendment,” the paper’s authors explain. “Operation Choke Point 2.0 violates both the non-delegation doctrine and the anti-commandeering doctrine, depriving Americans of key structural constitutional protections against the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.”
The white paper follows the failures of three major U.S. banks that had connections with the crypto industry, as well as commentary from Signature Bank board member and former politician Barney Frank, who suggested that Signature’s seizure was meant to be an “anti-crypto” message.
What do you think about the allegations made in the Cooper & Kirk white paper? Do you believe that Operation Chokepoint 2.0 is unconstitutional, and if so, what actions should be taken to protect the rights of crypto businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.