consultants are sandburs

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"At any given time, according to Exodus Lending, around 30,000 Minnesotans are stuck in the cycle of vicious lending. Because of the ridiculous interest rates, it can take many borrowers a year or more to get out of the payday loan cycle. Founded in 2012, Exodus Lending was founded after a new business opened on Lake Street, just around the corner from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The congregation learned that the building would soon be home to a payday loan service center and many were outraged at the prospect of having yet another financial predator move into their neighborhood."

Christians I can respect. Not those phony ones going to the legislature professing great embryo love, but hateful-to-indifferent toward alive real folks getting screwed. By payday lenders.

The headline is from mid-item. And it is not just a handful of folks who are irresponsible putting themselves into the grip of exploitative malefactors. It is thirty thousand decent people trying to survive, and being ignored by their legislators, be they DFL or GOP. It is shameful.

Yes it is nice that a church spawned a group having the heart and compassion to help.

But where are the legislators? One possible answer, bought. In that Daily Planet item:

In 2014, payday lending groups, including Burnsville-based Payday America, contributed a total of $59,743 in campaign contributions to state lawmakers, with Republicans accepting 75 percent of total contributions to the DFLers’ 25 percent, according to the Star Tribune.

[link in original, source of this screen capture]

It is a problem that did not start yesterday; MPR having noted per this screen capture (coincidentally from the same year, last presidential election cycle, that Exodux Lending was formed by real Christians):

- click image to read it -

What the problem is, is something that can be fixed today. If we had legislators with guts to do it. Lap cats belong elsewhere than the St. Paul hill top.

My BIG QUESTION, reader help requested via a comment giving detail; what, if any, is the overlap between this Brad Rixmann legislative donor guy, and Freedom Club? Any takers? Reader help on this would be most welcome.

Last, hat tip, Dan Burns, this link. His posting on the topic encouraged me to constructively pile-on. If anybody deserves piling on, it is these uncivil exploiters. Let's see legislative candidates, now, this very cycle, with the will to reach for a sounder status quo.

Politics in Minnesota, Capitol Reporter, online item:

Rixmann a growing force among political donors -- Pawnshop/payday lending CEO gains clout in GOP circles
By: Briana Bierschbach November 9, 2011

[...] Now Rixmann is a regular in Republican political circles. Rixmann has personally given more than $167,000 to political causes of all stripes, but the lion’s share has gone to Republicans in the last three years. While that figure pales in comparison with GOP uber-donors like reclusive businessman Bob Cummins — who has given millions, mainly to the House Republican caucus, over the last decade — Rixmann is a more recent fixture at the Capitol and has been openly involved in everything from door-knocking and distributing lawn signs across the state to hosting fundraisers and working on campaigns. Last fall he was the finance co-chairman for Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer’s campaign.

“He’s gained an enormous amount of clout in a short amount of time,” said one veteran Capitol political operative who preferred to remain anonymous. “He’s a Republican, no doubt, but even when Democrats were in control he managed to block [payday lending] bills. Now that Republicans are in control, you’re only going to see more of Brad Rixmann.”

[...] Ron Elwood, an attorney at the Legal Service Advocacy Project, has fought the issue for years. With the help of legislators like former DFL Sen. Kevin Dahle and current DFL Rep. Jim Davnie, he has pushed bills that would require payday lenders to work under the Minnesota Consumer Small Loan Act. Several of Minnesota’s biggest payday lenders — including Pawn America — have chosen in recent years to operate instead under the state’s industrial loan and thrift statute, which allows them to make bigger loans and charge higher fees.

“It’s not just the idea of, ‘Is payday lending good, bad or indifferent?’ His outfit has exploited an unintentional legal loophole to charge significantly higher fees for loans than others can,” Elwood said. “He is big enough to become qualified as an industrial loan and thrift banking organization, but he does none of that business, and he uses that law to charge more.”

Rixmann the donor

Rixmann has been able to fight off changes to the law, however, and some say that’s because of his burgeoning political presence.

[...] He has brought his business and employees and family into the political world. Many of his employees are also frequent political donors, and one lobbyist said he also helps organize massive door knocks through Chuck Armstrong, his community affairs director at Rixmann Cos. Rixmann is also a lawn sign enthusiast.

[bolding added] This link. Also, are we to expect reelecting Tom Emmer in CD6 has a likelihood of encouraging payday lending reform at the federal level?

So, reform of payday lending and excessive interest abuse will have to be local. By our legislature. Which candidates will publicly state a readiness to take on the challenge? What is needed is a comprehensive reform of usury law. Closing the loopholes and exceptions, be it pork for the credit card pack, or pork for payday lenders. Fix the law. Make the usury law of Minnesota a touchstone for other states to follow, instead of a shameful thing.

Between now and the November election, some of the better political candidates should step to the plate.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Interesting data, online here. Not behind any login/paywall. NOT flagged as non-public data. An openly accessible github file. No hacking involved/needed.

Whelan, Abeler and Peggy Scott; not listed as Rixmann beneficiaries.

Kurt Daudt and Tom Bakk are listed; Bakk three times, Daudt twice.

Rybak four times. Thissen not listed.

Lucero not listed.

Looking up "Marty" and four hits. NOT JOHN. Marty Seifert.

Aplikowski, none. One listed Freedom Club State PAC item listed for Brad Rixmann.

The data there appears to reach to 2014; with 2015-16 Rixmann spending on politics/politicians not part of the *.csv file.

Here online, also not behind any login/paywall; also not flagged as non-public data; also online as an openly accessible github file; also no hacking involved/needed.

So I’ve asked the Joint Legislative Religious Coalition for this data and this is what they’ve provided. I can always go back and ask them for something more specific if what’s attached doesn’t work. Source: Minnesotans for Fair Lending, Commerce Department

List of key legislators:

n Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook
o Bakk also controls the DFL Senate Caucus campaign fund to which the Rixmanns made several donations to.
o He also received contributions by Rixmann to his food shelf (located in his district) and his personal campaign fund
o Bakk signed off on final legislative deal which included the defeat of the payday lending bill.
n Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka
o Voted “no” on the payday lending reform bill
n Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin
o Voted “no” on the payday lending reform bill
n House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown
o Daudt was Minority Leader in 2014 and negotiating on behalf of his caucus on the bonding bill.
n HRCC (House Republican Campaign Committee) – not a legislator, but it’s the campaign fund that helps elected Republicans to the MN House. Daudt would be in control of this fund.

Bakk is what has been said about him here before. Deserving of removal from his DFL Minnesota Senate leadership position. Today for that step is not soon enough.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Routine websearh, "Brad Rixmann," hits, where readers can open one or two, and word-search "Rixmann."

Here, here, here, here, here and here. Two progressive blogs in the list. Republican bloggers do not seem to see a thing wrong with payday lending; much as they seldom blog about anything seen wrong by them of Tom Bakk. My favorite in there, the Dump John Kline one. Not that I have read anything there but the name, the intent and suggestion, it resonates even after the Col. has departed his for-profit-college seat in Congress. Just the mood and Gestalt of "Dump John Kline" is so needed. A need, not merely a want.

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