Public Service Announcement: Payday Loan-Industry Funded, Virginia-based GOPAC May Be Meddling In Your State Government

Why Are Payday and Title Lenders Pouring Money Into a Political Candidate Development Program?

 Executive Summary 

  • GOPAC Is A Republican PAC Led By Seasoned Conservative Political Operatives
  • GOPAC Gets Substantial Funding From The Payday Loan Industry, Receiving Over $380,000 Between 2016-2018.
    • In 2018 Alone, Payday Lenders Donated At Least $230,000 To GOPAC
  • GOPAC Has A History Of Meddling In State Affairs Regarding Payday Lending Legislation

GOPAC Is A Republican PAC Led By Seasoned Conservative Political Operatives

GOPAC Is A Republican PAC Dedicated To Coaching And Developing Republican State Legislators In Order For Them To “Advance The Ideas They Are Championing.”

GOPAC Is A Republican PAC Dedicated To “Educating And Electing A New Generation Of Republican Leaders.” “GOPAC is under the current leadership of David Avella and is the Republican Party’s premier center for educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders. It’s a force in American politics as it ensures a healthy roster of prepared and tested state leaders are ready to lead in their legislatures and/or run for higher office.” [“History,” GOPAC, accessed 03/19/19]

  • GOPAC Inc. Is Organized As A Tax-Exempt “527 Organization” Under IRS Code. “But GOPAC Inc., the source of money for the group’s political contributions, is organized as a so-called ‘527 organization’ and as such must report all of its contributions and expenses to the IRS. Gilbert said because GOPAC Inc. and GOPAC Education Fund share the same goals and philosophy, ‘it is absolutely possible that there’s extreme overlap in the donors to the two entities. But you can’t prove that’ because GOPAC Education fund donors are not disclosed.” [Tom Loftus, “A GOP group influential in Kentucky is funded by tobacco and casinos,”Louisville Courier Journal, 07/13/18]

GOPAC Maintains A “Year Long Initiative To Coach And Develop State Legislators,” In Order For Them To “Advance The Ideas They Are Championing.” “The Emerging Leaders program is a year long initiative to coach and develop state legislators from across the country on how to be effective legislative leaders. […] These leaders return to their states better equipped to advance the ideas they are championing and prepare for the rigors of campaigning for higher office.” [“2018 Emerging Leaders,” GOPAC, accessed 03/19/19]

Since Its Establishment In 1979, GOPAC Has Gone On To Be “One Of The Country’s Largest And Most Influential Partisan Political Action Committees.” “In 1979, GOPAC set to work electing Republicans to state and local offices. The organization concentrated on making direct contributions to promising candidates in competitive state legislative and municipal elections nationwide. In a short period of time, GOPAC helped Republicans make meaningful progress and grew to be one of the country’s largest and most influential partisan political action committees.” [“History,” GOPAC, accessed 03/19/19]

GOPAC Is Based In Arlington, Virginia. “Based in Arlington, Virginia, GOPAC reports its mission is ‘to educate and elect a new generation of Republican leaders.’ Its focus is to elect Republicans who advocate for free market principles and limited government to state legislatures across the country.” [Tom Loftus, “A GOP group influential in Kentucky is funded by tobacco and casinos,”Louisville Courier Journal, 07/13/18] 

GOPAC Chairman, David Avella, Is A Seasoned Republican Political Strategist With Frequent Appearances On Conservative Platforms.

David Avella, “A Seasoned Communications Professional And Political Leader,” Is The Chairman Of GOPAC. “A seasoned communications professional and political leader, Avella has spent his career working to advance free enterprise, job creation and opportunity. […] During his tenure at the helm of GOPAC, Avella has returned the organization to being the Republican Party’s premier center for educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders. It’s a force in American politics as it ensures a healthy roster of prepared and tested state leaders are ready to lead in their legislatures and/or run for higher office.” [“Chairman’s Corner,” GOPAC, accessed 03/19/19]

David Avella Is A “Frequent Guest” On Conservative Television Programs. “Avella is a frequent guest on national television and radio, including Fox News, Fox Business, Fox News Radio, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. He is also a quoted source for national and local print, video, online and social media platforms.” [“David Avella,” American Association of Political Consultants, accessed 03/19/19]

GOPAC Executive Director Jessica Curtis Is A Fox News Veteran With Experience Producing “Broadcasts Of Presidential Debates, Primary Elections, National Conventions And Presidential Inaugurations.”

Jessica Curtis Is A Former Fox News Producer With Experience Producing “Broadcasts Of Presidential Debates, Primary Elections, National Conventions And Presidential Inaugurations. “Jessica Curtis was the youngest person elected to political office in Port Jervis history – she was 22 when she was elected to the Common Council. She was a former producer of special events and politics at Fox News Radio. During her tenure at Fox, she produced live coverage that included broadcasts of presidential debates, primary elections, national conventions and presidential inaugurations. Prior to Fox News Radio, she was associate producer at New York City’s 77WABC Radio. She is currently the executive director at GOPAC, which is a Republican state and local political training organization.”[Sharon E. Siegel, “6 Port grads join Alumni Hall of Fame,” Times Herald-Record, 10/20/17]

GOPAC Gets Substantial Funding From The Payday Loan Industry, Receiving Over $380,000 Between 2016-2018.

GOPAC Receives “Substantial Financial Backing” From The Payday Loan Industry.

Payday Lenders Provide “Substantial Financial Backing” To GOPAC. “The group, GOPAC Inc., also gets substantial financial backing from casino interests and payday lenders, according to reports the organization has filed with the Internal Revenue Service.” [Tom Loftus, “A GOP group influential in Kentucky is funded by tobacco and casinos,” Louisville Courier Journal, 07/13/18]

Major Payday Lenders – Select Management Resources, Check Into Cash, And Advance America – Have Donated A Combined Total Of $387,800 To GOPAC.

Three Payday Lenders Donated At Least $387,000 To GOPAC Between January 2016 And May 2018. “A Courier Journal analysis of reports filed by GOPAC Inc. posted on the IRS website show that GOPAC Inc. received $6,790,186 in contributions from 173 donors between Jan. 1, 2016, and May 31, 2018 — most of the money coming from corporations that also were registered to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly in the recent session. […] Payday and auto title lending companies high on the donor list are: Select Management Resources of Alpharetta, Georgia, which gave $160,000; Check Into Cash, of Cleveland, Tennessee, $150,300; and Advance America, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, $77,500. [Tom Loftus, “A GOP group influential in Kentucky is funded by tobacco and casinos,” Louisville Courier Journal, 07/13/18]

In 2018 Alone, Payday Lenders Donated At Least $230,000 To GOPAC

In 2018, Advance America Donated $100,000 to GOPAC.

In January 2018, Advance America, A Payday Lender Based In Spartanburg, South Carolina, Donated $50,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 01/31/18, IRS.gov, 02/20/18]

In August 2018, Advance America, A Payday Lender Based In Spartanburg, South Carolina, Donated $50,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 08/31/18, IRS.gov, 09/20/18]

In 2018, Trade Pay Checksmart And Community Choice Financial Donated A Combined Total Of $25,800 To GOPAC

In January 2018, Trade Pay Checksmart, A Payday Lender Based In Dublin, Ohio, Donated, $15,800 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 01/31/18, IRS.gov, 02/20/18]

In August 2018, Community Choice Financial, A Payday Lender Based In Dublin, Ohio, Donated $10,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 08/31/18, IRS.gov, 09/20/18]

In 2018, Select Management Resources Donated $27,500 To GOPAC

In May 2018, Select Management Resources, A Payday Lender Based In Alpharetta, Georgia, Donated $25,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 05/31/18, IRS.gov, 06/20/18]

In August 2018, Select Management Resources, A Payday Lender Based In Alpharetta, Georgia, Donated $2,500 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 08/31/18, IRS.gov, 09/20/18]

In 2018, Check Into Cash Donated $82,940 To GOPAC.

In March 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $25,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 03/31/18, IRS.gov, 04/20/18]

In April 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $5,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 04/30/18, IRS.gov, 05/20/18]

In June 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $25,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 06/30/18, IRS.gov, 07/20/18]

In August 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $25,000 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 08/31/18, IRS.gov, 09/20/18]

In September 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $2,500 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 10/17/18, IRS.gov, 10/25/18]

In September 2018, Check Into Cash, A Payday Lender Based In Cleveland, Tennessee, Donated $440 To GOPAC.

[GOPAC INC. Report of Contributions and Expenditures Ending 10/17/18, IRS.gov, 10/25/18]

GOPAC Has A History Of Meddling In State Affairs Regarding Payday Lending Legislation

A House Bill Capping Interest Rates Was Curiously Passed Out Of Committee A Week After Ohio House Speaker, Cliff Rosenberger Resigned For Accepting A Trip With Payday Lobbyists Paid For By GOPAC.

Former Ohio House Speaker, Cliff Rosenberger Resigned After Accepting A Trip With Payday Lobbyists Paid For By The GOPAC Education Fund. “Former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, a Clinton County Republican, resigned last week after news broke that the FBI was investigating his lavish lifestyle, including his international travel. One trip that is of interest: Rosenberger’s August trip to London, where he spent time with lobbyists from the title-lending industry, which is trying to stall a legislative effort to regulate them. The trip was paid for by the conservative GOPAC Education Fund’s Institute for Leadership Development, not out of Rosenberger’s $100,798 salary.” [Chrissie Thompson, “FBI investigation: Ohio speaker had private tours, stayed in 5-star hotel in London,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 04/20/18]

Lobbyists Paid $25,000 To Attend The Trip And Gain Access To “Six Top Legislative Leaders, Including [Cliff] Rosenberger. “Corporate sponsors – often lobbyists, on behalf of the firms they work for – helped fund the trip through payments of $25,000 each, Ohio House records released to The Enquirer show. That sum allowed lobbyists to attend the institute, rubbing shoulders with six top legislative leaders, including Rosenberger.” [Chrissie Thompson, “FBI investigation: Ohio speaker had private tours, stayed in 5-star hotel in London,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 04/20/18]

Two Payday lobbyists attended the trip with Cliff Rosenberger. “For instance, Ohio lobbyist Steve Dimon and South Carolina lobbyist Leslie Gaines are shown in Facebook photos from the trip. Both lobby for the parent of title lender LoanMax.” [Chrissie Thompson, “FBI investigation: Ohio speaker had private tours, stayed in 5-star hotel in London,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 04/20/18]

A House Bill Capping Payday Interest Rates Stalled In Committee For Over A Year But Was Advanced “Less Than A Week” After Cliff Rosenberger Resigned. “A House committee advanced a bill Wednesday morning that would cap fees and interest rates on payday loan businesses – after more than a year of the bill stalling and less than a week after the chamber’s speaker, Cliff Rosenberger, resigned amid a reported FBI inquiry into his ties with the industry.” [Laura Hancock, “Payday lending bill advances out of Ohio legislative committee,” Cleveland.com, 04/18/18]

Cliff Rosenberger Was Also A Former Member Of GOPAC’s “Legislative Leaders Advisory Board.” “GOPAC today announced the addition of Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger to its Legislative Leaders Advisory Board, composed of state senate and house leaders who provide guidance and support to bolster GOPAC’s mission to educate and elect a new generation of Republican leaders.” [“Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger joins GOPAC Legislative Leaders Advisory Board,” GOPAC, 07/12/16]

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