Payday Lenders Support Politicians
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that seven payday lenders donated funds to support Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The donations totaled $162,500 with payday lenders donating anywhere between $2,500 to $35,000 to Restore Our Future, Romney’s Super Political Action Committee (PAC).
Advance American and Moneytree were among the payday lenders that donated to Restore Our Future. Restore Our Future and Advance America declined to comment, while Moneytree provided the donations under a different name, Katsam LLC.
I'm always skeptical of big businesses that donate large sums of money to politicians, wary that such funding may persuade politicians to back policies and regulations that benefit corporations, as opposed to consumers.
Bloomberg pointed out that the auto-title companies and payday lenders that provided the funds must adhere to financial regulations in the Dodd-Frank law, a law that Romney said he would appeal if elected president. In fact, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found that payday lenders spent significantly more once the Dodd-Frank law enforced tighter regulations.
Though Romney received funding from payday lenders, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will back their needs. I still like to keep a watchful eye to ensure politicians are protecting my consumer rights, especially in light of a recent report from CREW that found our house representatives, more often than not, vote in agreement with the industries they are supposed to be regulating. It sounds like they're doing a great job of representing my interests.
These days, I find it's extremely important to assume that proper regulations are not in place to thoroughly protect my interests. I take the time to understand the costs and ptifalls associated with financial agreements (including payday loans), because the best way to make sure you are protected is by making informed decisions as a consumer.