The Two Faces of Dick Saslaw


    You may have heard Dick Saslaw on the Mar. 5 D.C. Politics Hour asked by several callers to defend his (indefensible) bill expanding the reach of triple-digit interest car title loans. One caller suggested Saslaw was trading policy for campaign cash: records show he is far and away the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from predatory lenders this electoral cycle–$53,487 so far.

    Well, Saslaw answered on air with so many untruths and half truths–even saying he also gets money from consumer groups (flatly untrue, and let’s not forget that as 501 (c)(3) nonprofits they are prohibited from doing so)–that a coalition of responsible lending advocates took him to task in a press release. That, in turn, became fodder for several newspapers, which went to Saslaw for a response. Saslaw tempered his comments to the Washington Post, but revealed the full measure of his contempt for consumer groups to a Virginia Pilot reporter:

    They’re a bunch of phonies. They’re looking out for people who don’t live in Virginia, which frankly is none of their business.

    Here’s a partial list of the organizations Saslaw calls “phonies”:

    The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan coalition that brings together people of faith to create compassionate communities rooted in peace, justice, fairness, and sustainability.

    Virginia Poverty Law Center, which advocates for the civil legal rights of low-income Virginians in the courtroom, the legislature, and before executive agencies.

    Virginia Organizing, a grassroots group challenging injustice by empowering local communities and individuals to take action on issues that affect the quality of their lives.

    Virginians Against Payday Loans, an organization of small businesses, faith-based groups, and consumer advocates that works to eliminate predatory lending in Virginia.

    AARP, a membership organization for people over 50 that is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all people as they age, advocating for positive social change, and providing valuable information and services to its members.

    It’s about time voters in Saslaw’s own district got a taste of the real Dick Saslaw–the one we know down in the southern portion of the state. He rammed through the latest gift to loan sharks and has promised to bury any bill coming his way that tries to clamp down on them. He says he can do this because his own constituents don’t care.

    Voters need to prove him wrong. When people are being cheated, it’s everybody’s business,

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