Friday, July 22, 2011

Rep. Pat McHenry "rewarded" by payday lenders

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM

We wrote in late May about Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-Banks’ Back Pocket) and his arrogant browbeating of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor and consumer advocate who directed the start of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When Warren appeared before the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by McHenry, the Cherryville Republican basically made a national fool of himself, badgering Warren to the point that even fellow Republicans took him to task. Not that McHenry cared. His intended audience, i.e, his biggest campaign contributors — big banks, high-dollar accounting firms and payday lenders — were happy with his public snit. And why wouldn’t they be? Their “investments” in McHenry had paid off.

This week, the ThinkProgress website reported their analysis of new campaign finance data. In the last three months alone, McHenry received $63,800 from banks, mortgage companies, pawn shop executives (stay classy, Pat) and payday lenders. It’s interesting that much of the donations came on a single day, April 20. Here are the contributions from that day:

– Advance America PAC: $10,000 on 4/20/11

– Dennis Bassford, CEO of the Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree: $4,600 on 4/20/11

– Sarah Bassford: $2,700 on 4/20/11

– Community Financial Services Association of America PAC (trade association for payday lenders): $5,000 on 4/20/11

– Checksmart Financial LLC PAC, an Ohio-based payday lender: $2,000 on 4/20/11

– A. David Davis, CEO of Ohio-based payday lender Check-n-go: $2,000 on 4/20/11

– Jared Davis, CEO of Ohio-based payday lender Axcess Financial: $2,000 on 4/20/11

– Roger Dean, CFO of Axcess Financial: $500 on 4/20/11

– EZCORP PAC, a Texas-based payday lender: $2,000 on 4/20/11

– Natl Pawnbrokers Assoc. PAC: $2,000 on 4/20/11

As ThinkProgress notes, “The surge of payday lender money to McHenry on a single day suggests the congressman had a campaign party with opponents of Elizabeth Warren.” Just four weeks after his big payday, McHenry went to work on her. They used to call this kind of thing "bribery." And that’s not all the news about McHenry’s finances. Here is another excerpt from the ThinkProgress report:

The McHenry household receives an income from the Brattle Group, an industry consulting firm that employs McHenry’s wife. The Brattle Group helps connect powerful industry groups with academics to produce reports that can be used during testimony or lobbying campaigns — the same type of firm highlighted by Charles Ferguson’s investigative documentary *Inside Job. In conjunction with the Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade association for predatory lenders, the Brattle Group produced a study claiming that payday lending never results in cycles of debt for its customers. According to its website, the Brattle Group also represents banks, credit card companies, and other businesses in the financial industry.

The report comes just four months after McHenry was a featured speaker at a payday lenders’ convention in Hollywood, Fla.  As NC Policy Watch put it, “talk about your high-class events.”

In other words, for all his pro-Tea Party, “common man” rah-rahs, McHenry is a full-fledged member of the crooked system that corrupts members of Congress and warps our government’s priorities to benefit exploitive chiselers. He’s not only a member, he seems to have mastered the system. This doesn't come as a surprise to those who've followed his career. McHenry is, after all, the guy who reacted with blushing pride when he was described by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as the possible “next Tom DeLay.” DeLay, you recall, was one of the most crooked congressional leaders in history and is currently out on appeal, fighting a three-year prison sentence for corruption.

Pat McHenry hard at work, playing with his Nintendo Wii in his congressional office
  • Pat McHenry hard at work, playing with his Nintendo Wii in his congressional office

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