Payday Lending Industry Contributed Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to Tennessee Lawmakers at the Same Time They Pushed for the Flexible Credit Act in the State, Which Would Legalize a Loan With an APR of 279%.
“The payday lending lobby contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tennessee lawmakers as the industry pushed for a new type of loan in the state, NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered. The Flexible Credit Act created flex loans and legalized their 279% annual percentage rate. It sailed through the General Assembly in 2014, passing unanimously in the state Senate and with bipartisan support in the House. But our investigation discovered that few lawmakers questioned the new product or the high interest rate.” [Nashville News Channel 5: “Lawmakers Took Payday Lenders’ Money, Asked Few Questions,” 2/17/16]
Rep. Cameron Sexton, the Legislator Who Sponsored the Bill Admitted It Was Because of an Association in the Lending Industry, but Said He Couldn’t Remember Which One Exactly.
“NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked [Rep. Cameron] Sexton, “Do you think consumers benefited most or the industry benefited most? Sexton said, “I would say it would be hard to answer. You’ll have to talk to each individual person.” But when we asked who wanted Sexton to sponsor the bill, he was not sure. “I can’t remember the exact association’s name. I can just say it’s in the lending industry, but I just don’t know what association,” Sexton said. Sexton presented the bill to several House committees.” [Nashville News Channel 5: “Lawmakers Took Payday Lenders’ Money, Asked Few Questions,” 2/17/16]
- Sexton Took in $6000 From Payday Lending PACs Immediately Before Sponsoring the Bill and Right After It Passed—He Also Received More Than $2,000 From Payday Loan Lobbyists to Help With a Fundraiser. “The Crossville Republican himself received $6,000 from payday lending PACs immediately before sponsoring the bill and right after it passed. He also received more than $2,000 from payday loan lobbyists to help with a fundraiser.” [Nashville News Channel 5: “Lawmakers Took Payday Lenders’ Money, Asked Few Questions,” 2/17/16]
Five Payday Lending Political Action Committees Donated More Than $400,000 to Tennessee Lawmakers in the Months Immediately Before and After the Bill Passed.
“Five political action committees representing payday lenders across the state doled out more than $400,000 in contributions to Tennessee lawmakers in the months immediately before and after the bill passed.” [Nashville News Channel 5: “Lawmakers Took Payday Lenders’ Money, Asked Few Questions,” 2/17/16]
Cheaper by the Dozen: How Twelve Members of Congress Were Showered With Campaign Cash by Payday Lenders Just Before and Soon After Taking Official Actions to Benefit the Industry. A report from Allied Progress details how a dozen Members of Congress were showered with campaign contributions by payday lenders within days of taking official actions that benefited the industry. [Allied Progress, 2/18/16]