Copyright 2014

Operation Choke Point Targets Businesses Liberals Don't Like

The administration knows it can't get rid of consumer lenders or money transfer firms or telemarketers or tobacco companies. So it enlists outside help. For instance, Google, an administration ally on a variety of Internet and technology issues and a beneficiary of significant government largesse, is helping with the online lenders.

In recent weeks, it announced it would stop accepting advertising from online lending firms. Payday lenders have their storefronts as advertising. Consumers who seek online loans have few other ways to find vendors, which means the unscrupulous lenders the government allegedly seek to stop hold more market share than they should.

Google controls 95 percent of the mobile search market and more than 75 percent of all paid search advertising. This is not a small thing. And it follows, more than coincidentally, on the heels of Google's announcements in recent years to stop selling ads to pawn shops, firearms and fireworks dealers and other businesses the current administration doesn't like.

Indeed, when the move was announced, a Google executive compared online lending to pornography, cigarettes and guns ... an interesting list considering the administration's priorities in Operation Choke Point.

"We don't allow ads for products that we think are excessively harmful," Vijay Padmanabhan, a policy adviser at Google, said at the time.

It's also interesting how Google defines these lenders. It says it will not accept ads in the United States for personal loans with annual percentage rates above 36 percent or where repayment in full is due within 60 days. Technically, this second group could include American Express, but no matter.