Senator Says He Knows West Virginia’s Auto Dealers Don’t Discriminate… But State’s Auto Dealers Have Faced Discrimination Complaints and Studies Show Lending Discrimination is a Nationwide Problem
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After joining Republicans in the U.S. Senate to repeal guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that protected consumers from discriminatory auto lending practices, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) offered up a bizarre excuse for his vote which will continue allowing black borrowers with the same credit score as white borrowers to be charged higher interest rates on auto loans. According to a report in Politico:
“Manchin said he didn’t see evidence in his state of a problem with discrimination by auto dealers. ‘I have a great relationship with all the car dealers back in the state of West Virginia, and I have checked with every one of them,’ Manchin said in an interview. ‘If I thought that any one of them — and these are people I’ve known all my life — would ever discriminate against anybody, for any reason whatsoever, I would have been coming after them. I’ve never had a complaint on that, never once.'”
Responding to Manchin’s explanation, Allied Progress Executive Director Karl Frisch said:
“Perhaps Manchin doesn’t know his state’s auto industry as well as he thinks he does. West Virginia is a beautiful state with its own unique culture and history, but its auto industry is unfortunately no different than the rest of the country. Dealers have faced discrimination complaints and studies show auto lending discrimination is a nationwide problem. Those are the facts whether Manchin wants to accept them or not.”
Manchin Claims He Knowns West Virginia’s Car Dealers Don’t Discriminate.
- Manchin was the lone Democrat who voted to repeal consumer protections from auto lending discrimination, claiming he didn’t see evidence of a problem and that he’d known West Virginia’s car dealers for his entire life. When the Senate voted to eliminate consumer protections that “combat[ed] discrimination in auto lending,” Joe Manchin was the lone Democrat to vote for the measure. “Manchin said he didn’t see evidence in his state of a problem with discrimination by auto dealers” and went so far as to say “”I have a great relationship with all the car dealers back in the state of West Virginia, and I have checked with every one of them…If I thought that any one of them — and these are people I’ve known all my life — would ever discriminate against anybody, for any reason whatsoever, I would have been coming after them. I’ve never had a complaint on that, never once.'” [Zachary Warmbrodt, “Senate votes to kill consumer bureau auto-lending restrictions,” Politico, 04/18/18]
But How Well Does Manchin Really Know West Virginia’s Car Dealers?
- One Chevy Dealer in South Charleston Was Accused of Being “Run Like a Frat House” in a Gender Discrimination Lawsuit That Included Accusations the Company Fostered an Inappropriate Sexual Atmosphere. The Same Dealer Gave Manchin $1000 in Campaign Cash. In June 2017, a former employee filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Joe Holland Chevrolet, a dealership in South Charleston, WV, alleging that “the business was run like a frat house” and that the dealership’s president “was openly hostile toward female employees.” Among other claims, she alleged that, while she worked for the dealership, “a male employee contacted an underage daughter of a customer and offered to pay her to perform sexual acts on her also-underage same-sex friend while the male employee watched.” Joe Holland Chevrolet previously argued that the Affordable Care Act deprived “company owners of their right to practice their Christian religious beliefs” by requiring it to cover contraception for employees. [Kyla Asbury, “Former employee sues Joe Holland Chevrolet for ‘frat house’ mentality,” West Virginia Record, 07/20/17; Kate White, “Joe Holland birth-control lawsuit on hold as high court weighs similar cases,” 12/12/13; Search for Joe Holland Contributions, FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 04/19/18]
- A West Virginia Toyota Dealer Faced a Discrimination Claim from an Employee Who Said He Was a Victim of Racial Discrimination and Retaliation – the Same Dealer Gave Manchin Thousands in Campaign Cash. In July 2007, a former employee filed a discrimination claim against Dan Cava’s Toyota World, “alleging that his employment had been wrongfully terminated in connection with an April 2007 employee altercation, and that he was the victim of racial discrimination and retaliation in connection with the April 2007 altercation.” Dan Cava has donated $2,000 to Joe Manchin. [Fluker v. Cava, 2012 W.V. Cir. LEXIS 4448, 01/03/12; Follow the Money Search for Daniel A. Cava, accessed 04/18/18]
- Data from the National Consumer Law Center indicated that “widespread racial disparities” exist “in the markups added by auto dealers to auto loan rates…in every region of the country.” NCLC also found “significant racial disparities…in every state with sufficient data.” [“Racial Disparities in Auto Loan Markups State-by-State Data“, National Consumer Law Center, June 2015]
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