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Opponents of Government’s ‘Choke Point’ Program Work to Loosen Its Grip

Two federal agencies have backed off—slightly—from a program critics say has been intimidating banks into canceling services for legitimate, law-abiding businesses and making it difficult if not impossible for them to operate. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched “Operation Choke Point” without warning or public discussion in March 2013.  Some businesses were classified as “high risk,” and banks were informed they would come under...

How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States With Billions in Toxic Debt

[Editor’s note: “Politicians wanted upfront cash from a legal victory over Big Tobacco, and bankers happily obliged. The price? A handful of states promised to repay $64 billion on just $3 billion advanced.” So reads the teaser headline on this report from the independent, non-profit ProPublica news organization. The beginning of the article follows, with a link to the full story.] By Cezary Podkul In November 1998, attorneys general from across the country sealed a historic deal with the...

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