Thursday, May 12, 2016

Which Florida Politicians Should Be Serving Time In Prison Instead of Congress?


Patrick Murphy and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as bad as any Republican

At the end of March PolitiFact weighed into the fight between Tim Canova and Debbie Wassermann Schultz over her career-long practice of soliciting bribes from the finance industry in return for carrying their agenda even when it conflicts with the interests of her own constituents. PolitiFact looked at a statement by Canova that Wasserman Schultz disputed: "After taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks, (Debbie Wasserman Schultz) has voted to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from regulating payday loans and addressing racial discrimination in car loans."

"Did Canova accurately describe her donations from banks and her votes related to payday loans," was at the crux of the thorough investigation PolitiFact undertook.
Canova’s campaign pointed to donations from banks, securities/investment firms and finance/credit companies to Wasserman Schultz’s campaign committee and her political action committee, or PAC.

At PolitiFact Florida’s request, the Center for Responsive Politics compiled the large individual donations (more than $200) and donations to her PAC starting with her 2006 election. The center found she received $309,020 from commercial banks, which represented about 2 percent of the total; $408,450 from securities/investment firms, and $325,850 from finance/credit companies.

Her leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats, received donations from the Goldman Sachs PAC: $5,000 in 2016 and $10,000 in 2014.

...Payday loans are small, short-term loans that borrowers promise to repay out of their next paycheck at a high rate of interest. It is a controversial industry that targets the poor and is disproportionately located in minority communities.

For years, payday loans were unregulated by the federal government, although some states had their own laws.

President Barack Obama took a step toward regulating the industry when he signed a bill in 2010 that included the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans have targeted the bureau for years.

Enter some Democrats into the fray-- including Wasserman Schultz, who has gotten about $68,000 from payday lenders, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

...More than 200 consumer or civil rights groups-- including the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Consumer Federation of America-- wrote a letter to Congress urging them to defeat the bill. They argued that the bill favors an "industry-backed Florida law" and would hurt consumers.

Florida’s 2001 payday loan law was a compromise and included protections that were intended to help the poor avoid an endless cycle of debt. But the loans leave consumers stuck on a debt treadmill in Florida, where they have racked up $2.5 billion in fees since 2005, according to the Center for Responsible Lending’s March report. In the past year, the average Florida payday loan had an annual rate of 278 percent.

Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, disputed Ross’ description of Florida’s law as the "gold standard" during a congressional hearing on March 16.

In Florida, "these loans are still being made above the 300 percent, and they are being rolled over on average nine times," Cordray said.

Our ruling

Canova says Wasserman Schultz "after taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks, has voted to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from regulating payday loans and addressing racial discrimination in car loans."

Her campaign committee and PAC have taken $309,020 from commercial banks since her re-election campaign in 2006-- about 2 percent of the total. That includes $15,000 in donations from Goldman Sachs to her leadership PAC.

The payday loan bill hasn’t had a vote in the House yet, although Wasserman Schultz is a co-sponsor. The bill would not prevent the bureau from regulating payday loans entirely, but it would cede power to the states, including Florida, which has its own payday law that some advocates have criticized as weak.

She voted for a bill that squashed bureau guidelines that were intended to provide clarity about the law on racial discrimination related to car loans.

We rate this claim Mostly True.
Then this Tuesday the Miami Herald ran an exposé on the most corrupt politicians in Florida taking bribes from the payday lenders. As expected, Wasserman Schultz was among the worst of the worst. The short list of Florida corruption in Congress:
Alcee Hastings
Patrick Murphy
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
They also included Wasserman Schultz's corrupt protégé, Kendrick Meek, who is no longer in Congress but working as a lobbyist (of course) and took $72,800 in bribes from the payday lenders while he was in Congress.
Payday lenders have donated about $2.5 million to Florida politicians and both political parties in recent years, according to a new analysis by a liberal group.

Allied Progress has drawn attention to the issue of payday lending in Florida by attacking U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, and other politicians who have taken money from the industry.

The group gave the Miami Herald an advanced copy of its new report, “A Florida Plan: How payday lenders bought Florida’s political establishment.” The report lists donations given to federal and state candidates as well as the state’s Republican and Democratic parties since 2009.

Overall, Republicans received $1.6 million and Democrats received about $890,000, while $29,000 went to independents. But the top individual recipients were South Florida Democrats:

 U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach: $110,700;

 Former U.S. Rep Kendrick Meek, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010: $72,800;

 U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who is running for the Senate: $51,000;

 Wasserman Schultz of Weston: $50,600.

The Republican Party of Florida received $1,083,447, and the Florida Democratic Party received about $366,500.

...“Florida’s political establishment has pushed the disastrous Florida model of payday lending on the rest of the country because they have been bought by the industry and one family and company in particular,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

The issue of payday lending has become a thorn in the side of Wasserman Schultz, who is facing her first re-election primary challenge since winning the seat in 2004.

...The donations she received from the payday industry are a small portion of the millions of dollars Wasserman Schultz has raised for her re-election campaigns.

Payday loans could become a topic in the Democratic Senate primary, in which Murphy faces U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

Last year, Grayson signed the joint letter that defended Florida’s law, but later said he would oppose the bill filed by Ross because of the two-year waiting period.

Murphy said in April that Florida’s regulations on the payday lending industry are “stronger than almost any other state.”

PolitiFact Florida rated that claim False.

The race for the open Florida Senate seat is heating up. If you want to see Washington continue down the road that puts the corruption of characters like Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Paul Ryan, Chuck Schumer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Donald "I Buy Politicians" Trump in power, you must vote for Patrick Murphy. If this kind of thing revolts you and makes you think government is the enemy, consider supporting a proven and effective reformer, Alan Grayson. You can contribute to him-- as well as to Tim Canova-- by clicking on this thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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