Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rod's $250,000 payday haul

Rod Blagojevich has tried to tell the people of Illinois that he has "reformed" the payday loan industry in Illinois. Yes, it's true he signed legislation that puts caps on certain types of loans and he had the "good government" types on board.

And the Illinois news media, in almost perfect lockstep, reported it as a legitimate reform.

What they didn't report (with a few exceptions) is that Blagojevich is taking enormous sums of money from payday loan companies and continues to do so.

In all, Rod has taken at least $254,000 from payday loan companies and their executives. That is just what I found from firms that I know are payday loan operators. I'm sure there's more in his reports I don't know about.

Here is the $140,000 he's taken from national payday loan firms:
  • Advance America--$48,500
  • Check Into Cash--$23,500
  • Check 'N Go--$35,500
  • QC Financial Services--$27,500
  • First Cash Financial Services--$5,000
The contributions included $15,000 from Advance America and $10,000 from Check Into Cash on the last two days of 2005. So the money continues to roll in, even after the "reform" legislation passed. Why?

One reason is that the national firms favored Rod's legislation because it tended to wipe out the small payday loan operators in Illinois. Those firms and their PAC gave Rod $114,000 in the months leading up to the General Assembly's vote on the legislation in 2005. Archpundit was one of the few who noticed this trend back then.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, in an editorial last year, suggested that it was good government for Rod to stiff the small payday loan operators. The paper appears not to have known that the national payday loan operators were even bigger contributors and a cynic could say Rod sold out to the highest bidder.

To those who say the legislation is helping consumers, I wonder. If it's so helpful to consumers and tough on the new favored class of payday loan operators, why do they continue to pour money into Rod's campaign fund? Maybe the good government types should look into it.

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