Why Is This Payday Lending Front Group Blocking the Release of Its Emails With a Professor Whose Pro-Industry Research It Commissioned?
Last November, Campaign for Accountability released an explosive report exposing the payday lending industry’s efforts to produce academic research that defends the industry’s deceptive practices and the impact they have on hardworking men and women.
As the result of an open records request, the report was able to show how a payday lender-funded organization called Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) paid nearly $40,000 to an Arkansas Tech University professor to produce a study claiming that payday loans do not leave consumers trapped in cycles of debt.
The report also highlighted how CCRF chairman Hilary Miller received and edited drafts of this so-called “academic” study and encouraged the Arkansas Tech professor to omit elements that would point to the danger caused by the high interest, short-term loans.
Now, according to a report from Freakonomics, CCRF is fighting the release of internal emails from a different university where it paid for academic research. As Freakonomics notes, this study from Kennesaw State University included a sentence that was “nearly identical” to a sentence included in the Arkansas Tech University study at CCRF chairman Miller’s request.
Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) Took Legal Action to Block a Public Records Request for Emails Between the Payday-Backed Group and a CCRF-Funded Kennesaw State Professor.
“When the Campaign for Accountability filed a freedom of information request last year for [the Kennesaw State University professor]’s e-mails, CCRF took legal action against the University System of Georgia to block their release.” [Freakonomics, 4/6/16]
Freakonomics Found “A Nearly Identical Sentence” in the CCRF-Funded Arkansas Tech Study and the CCRF-Funded Kennesaw State Study
“However, there is one familiar sentence in [the Kennesaw State University] paper that suggests Miller may have had a hand in writing parts of it as well. It appears in a footnote on page 8:
“A nearly identical sentence appears in [the Arkansas Tech University] paper in the section written by Miller that we examined above:
The Sentence in Question Was Originally Written by Hilary Miller, Chairman of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation