Not a fan of predatory lenders? Also not a fan of Virginia’s bought-and-paid-for-legislature? Well, then, you’ll enjoy – ok, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word here – reporter Michael Pope’s new story on “following the money from high-interest lenders to lawmakers.” The following paragraph in particular jumped out at me; check out how Del. Tim Hugo epitomizes the polar opposite about how government for the people – not the predatory lenders or other powerful, well-heeled interests – is supposed to work (bolding added by me for emphasis):
Campaign finance reports show the industry is targeting members of a House subcommittee that routinely kill any effort to reform the industry, making contributions to Jackson Miller, Kathy Byron and Lee Ware. Top dollar amounts are going to the head of that committee, Delegate Tim Hugo. He’s receiving $15,000 from LoanMax and another $15,000 from Check into Cash, companies that have resisted efforts to create new consumer protections. “You have an opportunity to propose a bill. You have an opportunity to have a moment or two to speak about it, and then it dies in a way that the people putting the money in the pockets of the politicians would like,” Farnsworth explains.
So, to summarize: the predatory lending industry targets members of a Virginia House subcommittee that routinely kills any reform efforts — usually in the dark, without even a recorded vote in many cases. These predators especially target Del. Tim Hugo, who runs the subcommittee, but click on the lenders here and check out which party they give most of their dirty money: Anderson Financial Services/LoanMax has given $226,000 in 2016-2017 to Republicans, around twice as much as they give to Democrats; Check Into Cash of VA has given $119,500 to Republicans vs. just $3,000 to Democrats; Community Loans of America has given $69,500 to Republicans vs. just $12,000 to Democrats; TitleMax has given $34,500 to Republicans vs. just $7,000 to Democrats; Advance America Cash Advance has given $27,000 to Republicans vs. just $7,000 to Republicans; Select Management Resources LLC has given $32,600 to Republicans vs. ZERO to Democrats; Enova, Inc. has given $27,000 to Republicans vs. just $2,000 to Democrats; etc.
Sensing a pattern here? In short, if you’re a fan of unscrupulous, slimy predatory lenders, you should totally vote Republican next Tuesday. If not, then don’t. In the case of Tim Hugo, fortunately there’s a excellent alternative — Democrat Donte Tanne. And in the case of Jackson Miller, a much better option would be Democrat Lee Carter. More broadly, we need to change this entire system of “legalized corruption” in Virginia, but that’s a long-term battle. For next Tuesday, let’s start by replacing some of the worst of this system’s “swamp creatures,” folks like Tim Hugo and Jackson Miller for instance. At least that would represent a good start, although of course there’s much more work to do…
P.S. For more on this slimeball industry, see Sen. Scott Surovell – a leader for many years on this topic – and his thought about stopping these outrageous rates.