Small loan lenders could hardly afford to buy elections

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 By

Jack Abramoff

Accusations of small loans lenders lobbying like Jack Abramoff did are ridiculous, because they can't afford it. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Any industry can make campaign contributions, even small loans lenders like payday advance lenders. However, according to some people any campaign contribution is tantamount to bribery. For instance, any elected official that is opposed to capping or banning payday loans is automatically assumed to have been bought off. The hitch is that as an industry, loan lenders don’t have that kind of clout.

Small loan industry accused of buying officials

Like any trade organization or concern, small loan lenders like payday loan and installment loan lenders can lobby politicians to voice their concerns or make sure they get a fair shake. Members of these organizations make campaign contributions, which they are legally allowed to do. Sometimes they host conferences that officials are invited to, and there are plenty of other organizations that lobby incumbents or candidates. Yet a double standard is often observed. For instance, in a recent New Mexico gubernatorial debate, according to the New Mexico Independent, Democratic candidate Diane Denish practically accused Susana Martinez of being bribed by payday loan lenders because a fundraiser for Martinez was partially run by a lobbyist employed by the alternative financial services industry.

Who makes the rules?

Just because any one industry makes contributions to a candidate doesn’t mean a whole lot. Also, who gets to decide which organizations are morally acceptable enough to make donations? Besides, payday loan and small loan lenders as an industry can’t afford to actually buy off anyone. For instance, Congressional Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina received $57,900 from payday lending organizations for his 2010 election fund, and that’s the industry as a whole. Senator Chris Dodd, by comparison received $152,100 from the Royal Bank of Scotland alone in 2010. Anyone can look at lobbying data on OpenSecrets.org, and may be surprised at what they find about their own representatives.

Small fish

The contributions small loan lenders can make as an industry are dwarfed when it comes to other lobbies, such as banks and high finance. The biggest contributor to election campaigns, far and away, is unions. Looking at history, unions are hardly squeaky clean by any stretch of the imagination. Contributions that small hardly makes a bribe. You can read more in Payday Loan Facts and Statistics Report on Personal Money Market.

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