Texas Senator and 2016 presidential contender Ted Cruz is every bit as tenacious as headline-grabbing Donald Trump and equipped with bona fide conservative credentials and an impressive legal pedigree. An honors graduate of both Princeton and Harvard, before becoming the fire-breathing junior senator from Texas, Cruz was the Lone Star state’s solicitor general and before that served as a clerk to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist.
So, when confronted with obvious attempts to dodge legislative inquiries by speaking vague legalese and excuses, Cruz is not easily bested.
On Wednesday, Sen. Cruz questioned Stuart Delery, a Justice Department official who is a nominee for the position of associate attorney general. As Cruz attempted to get to the bottom of the Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point,” the nominee ducked and dodged, but Cruz would have none of it.
“Operation Choke Point” was an Obama DOJ program designed to obstruct the financial dealings of certain companies and industries of which the Obama Administration disapproved. Namely, the program put pressure on financial institutions to deny services to gun shops and manufacturers- services that were traditionally offered to small and medium-sized businesses like loans and credit card processing.
At Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cruz noted that he, too, is an alumnus of the Justice Department and lectured,
“The Department of Justice has a long and bipartisan tradition of staying out of politics, of defending the law and the Constitution, and not acting simply as a partisan arm of whatever president happens to be in the White House.”
“I believe the Department of Justice has violated that tradition of staying out of politics, and indeed, I think it’s been worse,” Cruz noted. “The Department of Justice has an obligation to defend the Constitution, and instead, this Justice Department, instead of defending the Constitution, has consistently violated the Constitutional rights of American citizens,” and “has treated the Bill of Rights, unfortunately, with contempt.”
Cruz then moved-in on Delery’s approval of the program that victimized legal businesses. Reading from the memorandum personally-approved by Delery, Cruz highlighted how the purpose of the DOJ program was to extort financial institutions into unfairly hindering the business practices of gun manufacturers and dealers by exploiting the fear of government intervention held by these financial institutions.
“The object of Operation Choke Point was to cut off the lines of credit … to lawful small businesses,” Cruz said. The senator then questioned under what legal authority Delery was he allowed to implement such a program.
Delery offered a canned excuse, that the point of the program was to go after “fraud in the payment system.”
Cruz cut Delery off before he could continue down the road of rehearsed justifications. He noted specific examples where lawful firearm-related businesses were denied access to financial services because of their “line of business.”
Still, Delery, despite evidence to the contrary, continued with his denials that no lawful businesses were targeted.
“On the list of high risk activities, ammunition sales and firearm sales are included,” Cruz said. “Is there any indication that ammunition sales and firearm sales constitute fraud?”
Delery endured the deluge of prosecutorial questions with flimsy answers and meek assertions that lawful firearm dealers were not targeted, despite the fact that such institutions were directly listed as the target of the operation that aimed to run gun-related businesses out of business.
“Choke Point was all about using government power to intimidate banks to cut off [businesses’] money even though they weren’t violating the law,” Cruz highlighted
The operation “wasn’t targeted on evidence of fraud. This was targeted based on an antipathy of the Obama Justice Department to the exercise of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by American citizens.”
The below exchange is particularly brutal and illustrative of precisely the kind of leadership needed to restore faith in our nation’s law and order.
We cannot exist as a free nation if the government operates as a cudgel to beat-down legitimate businesses that facilitate a freedom that the tyrannical regime abhors.
It is only through the efforts of dedicated patriots like Sen. Cruz and others that we may regain our nation of laws and dignity.