Friday, October 09, 2015

Will The Payday Lender Bribery Scandal End Scott Garrett's And Farmer Fincher's Miserable Political Careers?


Wall Street shill Scott Garrett represents Lodi, home of the Bada Bing strip club from The Sopranos

Last week we talked about a new payday lender scandal breaking in Washington because of bribes that were taken by something like a dozen slimy Members of Congress. Campaign contributions were delivered and legislative favors were given return. "A dozen lawmakers received campaign contributions from payday lenders at around the same time they were introducing bills and writing letters benefiting the high-cost cash-advance industry."

Happily, local newspapers in the districts of the criminal-congressmen have begun picking up on the story. One of the most corrupt men ever to stalk the halls of Congress looking to sell his ass, Wall Street whore Scott Garrett (R-NJ), was one of the first to feel the wrath of the local media in Bergen County:
Garrett is one of 11 House members cited in an ethics complaint filed Monday by a watchdog group that accuses lawmakers of taking actions to protect the payday loan industry around the time they received campaign contributions.

The complaint by the Campaign for Accountability asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Garrett and 10 others, including two Democrats. Most are members of the House Financial Services Committee, on which Garrett is a subcommittee chairman.

The group’s complaint requests an investigation into whether the House members “violated House rules and criminal law,” but there is no guarantee any investigation will be conducted or that any official decision about the complaint’s merits will become public.

The complaint against Garrett focuses on $3,500 in contributions he received between March 2011 and August 2013, a time when his campaign account raised nearly $2.6 million, according to an analysis by The Record of records filed with the Federal Election Commission. In both years, the contributions were made within weeks of an official act Garrett took that would have protected payday lenders from government scrutiny, the watchdog group charges.

“Those contributions seem to be directly tied to actions that he took and that, from our perspective, is really the key here,” said Ann Weismann, executive director of the Center for Accountability. “I understand members accept contributions from industry all the time and there’s nothing per se illegal about that. It is illegal if you accept contributions and it is in exchange for exercising your official authority or taking an official act.”

...The complaint notes that the indictment in April of Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from Paramus, accused him of bribery for allegedly performing official acts around the time his codefendant, Salomon Melgen, made contributions to a political committee supporting Menendez’s 2012 re-election.

The ethics complaint against Garrett says he signed on as a cosponsor of a bill that the Campaign for Accountability says would have limited the CFPB’s oversight of the payday loan industry on March 16, 2011. On March 31, 2011, he received a $1,000 contribution from payday lending executive Ian MacKechnie of Amscot Financial.

The bill, which was not enacted, would have replaced the management of the bureau, currently by a presidentially appointed director, with a five-member commission made up of a vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and four appointees requiring Senate confirmation.

Payday lenders offer small loans that borrowers agree to repay within a short period of time, such as from their next paycheck. The lenders have been criticized for trapping people who are least able to pay into a cycle of ever-rising debt because people who cannot repay are offered bigger loans with higher fees.

Garrett also signed an Aug. 22, 2013 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FDIC Chair Martin J. Gruenberg opposing a program called “Operation Choke Point,” which was designed to prevent “payday lenders and other unscrupulous Internet-based companies from gaining access to the banking system through intermediaries,” the complaint said. On Oct. 4, 2013 Garrett received a $2,500 contribution from the political action committee of payday lender QC Holdings Inc.

Garrett got the smallest total amount of contributions of anyone in the ethics complaint. Amounts received by others ranged from $5,000 to $68,200... Possible violations listed in the ethics complaint include bribery, honest services fraud, acceptance of an illegal gratuity, and conduct not reflecting creditably on the House. Any member of the public can request an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, and the watchdog group’s allegation has no legal authority.
You remember Tennessee hypocrite Stephen "Farmer Fincher" Fincher from a different type of scandal a couple of years ago which saw him taking millions of dollars in taxpayer money, while leading an effort to cut food stamps for families living in poverty. (It didn't make any impression on the voters in grotesquely gerrymandered TN-08-- Memphis' white suburbs north to Jackson, Dyersburg and Union City-- who reelected Fincher last year with 70.8% of the votes cast.) This week both the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Knoxville News focused on Farmer Fincher's newest bribery scandal. His constituents in the Memphis 'burbs were reading that "payday loans taken out by their constituents helped fund big paydays for members of Congress who used their positions to advocate on behalf of this unscrupulous industry... The allegations against Fincher, a Frog Jump Republican who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, involve $13,500 in contributions from the payday lending industry or its executives."
The execrable bribe-taking Farmer Fincher (R-TN)

According to the complaint:

On July 19, 2012, Fincher signed on as co-sponsor of a bill that would have negated actions to safeguard consumers from the risks of products offered by the payday lending industry. Ten days earlier, he received $5,000 in campaign contributions from payday lending executives Dennis and Kimberly Gardner of the Equity Management Group. Five days after co-sponsoring the bill, Fincher received a $2,500 campaign contribution from payday executive William Allan Jones of Jones Management.

On June 3, 2013, less than a month after Fincher co-sponsored a similar bill, he received a $1,000 campaign contribution from a payday lending industry political-action committee, the American Financial Services Association PAC.

On Aug. 22, 2013, Fincher signed a congressional letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder and Martin J. Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., complaining about the Justice Department's "Operation Choke Point," which was designed to "prevent payday lenders and other unscrupulous Internet-based companies from gaining access to the banking system through intermediaries." About three weeks earlier, Fincher had received a $5,000 campaign contribution from the Cash America International Inc. PAC, a payday lending industry PAC.

Fincher's office declined to comment.
And there's a Florida Democrat with a shady record as a bribe-taking judge, Alcee Hastings, who must be uncomfortable with the local coverage he's been getting.
Congressional ethics investigators will review allegations that South Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings and 10 other House members took bribes by accepting campaign contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry.

...Here’s what Hastings, a 23-year House member whose district includes much of Broward and parts of Palm Beach and Hendry counties, is accused of in the letter:
May 21, 2013. Hastings co-sponsored HR 1566, legislation that Allied Progress said would “undermine oversight of payday lenders by allowing them to bypass the regulatory authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and stronger state laws.” On March 27, 2013, he received a $2,500 campaign contribution from payday lending executive Ian MacKechnie of Amscot Financial. MacKechnie contributed another $500 to Hasting’s campaign on June 28, following Hasting’s support for HR 1566. In all, Hastings and five other congressmen who supported the measure, or similar legislation, received a total of more than $72,000 in contributions from industry executives or PACs, the letter says.

July 10, 2014. Hastings co-sponsored HR 4986, a bill aimed at ending Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice initiative investigating banks and their connections to payday lenders, payment processors and others at higher risk for fraud and money laundering. Three weeks earlier, Hastings accepted a $2,500 contribution from Cash America International Inc. PAC, a payday lending industry PAC. Industry PACs sent another $26,000 to the campaigns of four other congressmen.
The other crooked congressmen involved in the scandal include Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) Pete Sessions (R-TX), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Kevin Yoder R-KS).

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At 10:36 PM, Anonymous SadOldVet said...

The real scandal is not that politicians are bribed. The real scandal is how cheaply they are bought.


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