Thursday, May 03, 2012

Hayden Rogers Represents Everything That's Wrong In Washington DC


If you contribute to Cecil Bothwell's campaign today, the money will go right up to expand TV coverage with the ad above. Bothwell's scrappy grassroots campaign is up against the full weight and power of The Machine. After incumbent Heath Shuler saw polling that indicated he couldn't win another term, he announced his retirement and has spent all his time setting himself up as a corporate lobbyist, a practice that should be illegal. Shuler and the Blue Dog Caucus put tens of thousands of dollars into starting a campaign for Shuler's closest crony and chief-of-staff, reactionary insider Hayden Rogers. The Blue Dogs were able to get their corrupt allies inside the DC Democratic Establishment to pony up as well and to signal the K Street corruption community-- i.e., the lobbyists-- that everyone had to chip in for Rogers.

Meanwhile, despite Hayden Rogers' virulently anti-Choice positions-- he promises to be a loyal soldier in the "Republican" War Against Women (for Boehner and Cantor)-- and despite being one of the only Democrats in the state of North Carolina backing the heinous Amendment One that the North Carolina Democratic Party is battling against, Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, who admires corruption over and above all other qualities, endorsed Rogers. So how corrupt is Hayden Rogers? Tuesday we touched on his relation to the payday loan industry-- which is banned from North Carolina. Today Cecil Bothwell's campaign has a press release explaining it more fully. Bothwell doesn't accept contributions from corporate lobbyists or from PACs. Rogers' entire campaign is practically based on a gusher of cash from these sleazy sources. "The most questionable sources," they assert, "are payday lenders."
Rogers has accepted $17,500 from individuals, lobbyists and special interest groups associated with the Payday Loan Industry. All of these donors are from outside of North Carolina, hailing from places such as Las Vegas, Miami, and South Carolina.

They are all from out-of-state because North Carolina banned the Payday Loan Industry in 2001.

It took until 2006 to fully shut down the industry (which played a cat and mouse game exploiting loopholes, changing names, etc.). In a 2006 press release NC Attorney General Roy Cooper said: “We’ve fought payday lending at every turn and now we’re putting this industry out of business here in North Carolina. These payday lenders thought they’d found a way around North Carolina law. Now we’re showing them the way out of our state.”

With over 23,000 lending stores in the U.S. (more than Starbucks and McDonalds combined), payday loans represent a $59 billion a year industry. Its critics argue that it is a form of predatory lending that targets young and low-income workers. People in need of quick cash-- usually a few hundred dollars-- bring in their pay-stub, fill out paperwork and turn over a personal check post-dated two weeks later and written for the amount plus the "loan fee." What many people don't understand is that the fee is actually the annual interest rate. According to the North Carolina Department of Justice "payday loans may seem like a quick solution to a cash crunch, they’ll cost you a lot more in the long run. A payday loan of $100 to $500 can carry an annual interest rate of 390 to 780 percent. Payday loans are due in full on your next payday, typically in two weeks. If you aren’t able to repay the loan that fast, as most borrowers aren’t, you can get stuck on a debt treadmill. This happens when borrowers, unable to repay the loan, take out new loans or rollover the old one. You pay the fees on your loans over and over again, without ever being able to pay off the loan."

New York, Georgia and 11 other states followed North Carolina and also banned them. Undeterred, the biggest players simply shifted operations and went online. Any attempt at meaningful Federal legislation from Congress was met with fierce lobbying efforts from groups such as the "Community Financial Services Association" and the "Online Lenders Alliance." Both groups represent the payday loan industry.

To date, Rogers has taken corporate/PAC donations (which are reported separately from individual/personal donations) from:

Community Financial Services Association-- Alexandria, VA-- $5,000 Advance America Cash Advance Centers, Inc.-- Spartanburg, SC-- $2,500. Advance America is the largest chain of payday lenders in the U.S.

Rogers also took donations from the following individuals:

Lindsay Webster-- Owner, Advance America, Spartanburg, SC-- $1,250 William Webster IV-- Chairman and Director, Advance America, Spartanburg-- $1,250 Vincent K. Ney-- CEO of GECC, Bergheim, TX-- $2,500...

Mark E. Curry gave $2,500. FEC law requires candidate to report a donor's name, address and occupation for anything above $50. Rogers reports Curry lives in Las Vegas, but for Curry's occupation Roger's states "Information Requested." However, our research has found a Mark E. Curry in Vegas who owns a collection agency (Smith, Haynes and Watson, LLC) that works for several payday loan shops. In 2011 Curry and his collection agency were in litigation with the AG of Maryland.

Tim Rupli-- "Executive" at T.R. Rupli & Associates, McClean VA--$1,000... Rupli runs a boutique lobbying firm that apparently only represents one client: The Community Financial Services Association. According to U.S. Senate records from 2008 Rupli spent $230,000 lobbying on behalf of CFSA.

Joshua S. Landy-- $1,500 -- No employer listed-- Miami FL ... Watchdog groups that track campaign financing show he donates to a lot of campaigns across the country. Some of these candidates' FEC reports list his occupation differently, but include: U.S. Money Shops, National Processing Centers, and "President" of ACA (American Cash Advance).

Why is a candidate from NC attracting and accepting so much money from an industry banned in NC?

Democratic primary voters in westernmost North Carolina need to ask themselves that when they head for the polls on Tuesday. And Democrats across the country should be asking themselves why do Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Joe Crowley and Steny Hoyer encourage, support and reward this kind of behavior? Why have they turned the DCCC into a cesspool of corruption almost as immersed in slime as the NRCC, their Republican counterparts? Last week Democrats put their collective feet down to this and resoundingly defeated corrupt conservative Blue Dog Tim Holden in Pennsylvania and replaced him with Matt Cartwright. Next Tuesday North Carolina Democrats can drive home the message by backing Cecil Bothwell over Hayden Rogers.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home