Conspiracy Theory Justice

Another Darrell Issa Conspiracy Theory Has Been Debunked

For years congressional Republicans have alleged or implied that several federal agencies were using an anti-fraud operation known as Operation Choke Point to intimidate and shut down legitimate industries that the Obama administration doesn't approve of, but a Department of Justice investigation has found no evidence of a conspiracy.

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-SC) accused the Obama administration of targeting a wide range of business from payday loans to gun dealers, to online porn and condom companies. Some Republicans even accused the Obama administration of using the operation to attack the Big Gulp drink industry.

The Justice Department investigation found no evidence of a conspiracy, but if you want to accuse federal attorneys of anything, you could accuse them of being biased against a terrible industry.

The DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility "concluded that Department of Justice attorneys involved in Operation Choke Point did not engage in professional misconduct," says the report, provided to members of Congress this week. "OPR's inquiry further determined that Civil Division employees did not improperly target lawful participants."

While the report found no serious misconduct, it notes DOJ attorneys may have viewed online payday lending with disdain.

Who doesn't?

Operation Choke Point has resulted in just three prosecutions of banks that were involved in fraud. No gun stores or purveyors of Big Gulps have been harmed.

I don't expect Republicans will accept this report as face value. The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility could be in on the conspiracy, right?

  • Christopher Foxx

    For years congressional Republicans have alleged or implied that several federal agencies were using an anti-fraud operation known as Operation Choke Point to intimidate and shut down legitimate industries that the Obama administration doesn’t approve of, but a Department of Justice investigation has found no evidence of a conspiracy.

    Of course the Republicans think this. Folks always expect others to do what they themselves would do.

  • muselet

    Substantively, this was never anything more than a bunch of Rs running around in circles and waving their arms around, hoping their antics would result in electoral gain. That this was the single stupidest conspiracy theory to be spun in decades never seemed to enter their minds.

    If DOJ attorneys held low opinions about Internet payday lenders, they had a good deal of company. State regulators and even brick-and-mortar payday loan shops have complained about online entities fleecing borrowers and giving the broader payday industry — which already had plenty of challenges — a bad name.

    This is the equivalent of Marburg complaining that ebola is giving viral hemorrhagic fevers a bad name.

    Zach Carter and Ryan J. Reilly say this, presumably with tongues deep in cheeks:

    Outraged conservatives never explained why they thought the Obama administration wanted to do away with porn and condoms.

    Oh, how I wish someone had asked.

    –alopecia

    • JMAshby

      I chuckled when I read that.