For Immediate Release
Naomi Seligman 202.408.5565
CREW Releases 'Payday Lenders Pay Up' - First Ever Study on the Payday Loan Industry's Efforts to Gain Influence in Washington
WASHINGTON - Today, in light of new legislative efforts and ever-growing
controversies over the role of payday lenders in Americans' lives,
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a
new study entitled, Payday Lenders Pay Up, which examines the payday loan industry's efforts to gain influence on Capitol Hill.
The first-of-its-kind study explores how the payday loan industry
has stepped up its lobbying and public relations efforts as well as its
campaign contributions to federal candidates in the face of greater
congressional scrutiny of industry practices. In 2006, Congress capped
the interest rate on short term loans to military members at 36%. In
the 110th Congress, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) dropped a bill to apply
the same cap across the board and he reintroduced that legislation
earlier this year.
CREW has examined those campaign donations, which demonstrate how an
industry with a previously low federal profile seeks to influence
members of Congress to achieve a particular policy outcome. CREW found
that the payday loan industry doubled its lobbying expenditures from
$2,045,000 in the 109th Congress to $4,182,550 in the 110th Congress
and doubled its campaign donations over the past three election cycles.
CREW also ranked the top 15 recipients of payday related campaign
contributions over the 2008 campaign cycle. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD),
chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, was the
leading recipient of payday contributions in the 2008 cycle, taking in
$47,400. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), chair of the House Subcommittee on
Financial Institutions - who has taken the lead on a payday reform bill
that has been criticized by consumer advocates, editorial writers, and
the payday industry - was the 11th leading recipient of payday loan
related donations, taking in $18,500 last cycle. Sen. Richard Shelby
(R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, was the
Republican who received the most from the industry, accepting $25,560,
ranking him 4th overall.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "Payday Lenders Pay Up
shows the payday loan industry is following the familiar path already
cleared by other industries suddenly confronted with congressional
oversight. Payday lenders have joined the ranks of defense contractors,
investment funds and others who influence the legislative process
through lavish political contributions, expensive PR campaigns, and
Read CREW's report in the Related Documents section on the right.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.