Anyone who has been around politics for more than five minutes is aware of the phrase “follow the money.” If their lips are moving, they???re lying, but the money doesn???t lie.
Everything is partisan except the cash. Cold hard cash seems to reach across the aisle quicker than you can say bi-partisan. The art of the back room deal boils down to this: How can we all make bank and save face with our constituents? Answer that and we???ve got a deal!
All the Scientific studies, non-partisan reports, and congressional watchdogs pretend they are unbiased and acting in the “public interest” but a peek behind the curtain typically finds a long money trail connected to those who profit from the attacks. The grain industry finances studies claiming that a grain-based diet is the healthiest. Coca-Cola sponsored the America Academy of Pediatrics???but have you seen what Coke does to a battery? Watch it here and seriously don???t drink Coke. Don???t tell my wife I said that. (She loves Coke). Big labor unions finance a myriad of front groups designed to promote their power and on and on. It???s an InfoWar out there.
Here comes a prime example. Recently, a complaint was filed against members of Congress who oppose the Obama established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and their assault on short-term lenders. What is that? Who files a complaint against the opposing group in congress? What a bunch of whiners! Wouldn???t that happen daily?
Apparently you can do just that. This week, an outfit called the Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint alleging that members of Congress who support payday loans were violating federal law by accepting campaign contributions from those businesses. Really? So is Obama in violation for accepting money from Planned Parenthood and then fighting for them? Isn???t that how it works?
The complaint was in response to a “study” by another liberal group called Allied Progress. Aren???t these names awesome and cryptic! Allied Progress? Nice name???focus group tested, and absolutely meaningless. Anyway, Allied Progress, a liberal PR shop, set out to smear any congressmen who thinks the middle class ought to have the right to a short term payday loan if they want one.
Why? What???s so bad about a payday loan? Well, besides the interest rate of course. Other than that???they fill a need. They provide a service. A regular bank wouldn???t do these kind of notes. How are you supposed to fix your car when it breaks down five days before payday and your discretionary savings account just happens to be at zero? The short term loan, of course. Filling a need in America???s middle class for years.
So who is it who???s out to get these evil congressman looking out for their constituents? It’s time to follow the money.
The attack on the “payday lending” industry has been financed by a number of non-profit organizations, the lead attack dog being the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). Who???s that? Again with the nice, focus group tested, responsible name. They are a group that, you guessed it, does short-term, small dollar lending and would profit immensely by the demise of the current system.
CRL describes itself as ???a community development lender, credit union, and real estate developer that works with individuals, organizations, and communities traditionally underserved by conventional markets.??? CRL’s founder and CEO is Martin Eakes. Eakes’ organizations are seeking to use government intervention to replace the short-term lending industry with his own version of small dollar lending. Sounds like a smoky back room deal to me.
Well, who the heck is Martin Eakes anyway? Apparently, he is in tight with Obama. Eakes is widely credited with influencing the Obama administration???s decision to undertake Operation Chokepoint. If you???ve never heard of it, yes, it???s as bad as it sounds. Operation Chokepoint is a nifty little Obama initiative designed to pressure banks to drop legal clients like gun stores and payday lenders. The bully pulpit still exists and with the power of the Justice Department to back it up it???s got enough teeth to bully banks into compliance.
Again with the money trail. Here???s where it gets fairly incestuous. Avert your eyes and remove small children. Allied Progress (the complainers) was provided seed money from a group called The New Venture Fund (Yet another cool name) which in turn received a million dollar grant from the McArthur Foundation. Low and behold, Mr. Eakes sits on the Board of Directors of the McArthur Foundation. (Surprise, surprise)
The groups that benefit the most from banning online loans companies are credit unions. Interest rates on overdrafts charged by both credit unions and banks exceed two hundred percent. Holy Cow! 200%? Shouldn???t that be illegal? Well it???s not. Legal credit unions would love to abolish online loan companies because they cut into the profits they enjoy from hammering customers with huge overdraft fees.
The CRL helped pressure North Carolina into outlawing payday loans. Here comes Martin Eakes remember him? He just happens to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Self-Help Credit Union. Self-Help is thriving in North Carolina and the assets of the credit union have jumped from $114 million in 2003 to $292 million in September 2007. The return on average assets was 1.4 percent for Self-Help, versus the industry average of 1.1 percent. Wow! It pays to have friends in high places.
Is anybody fighting this stuff? Is there any hope left at all? Yes! Meet conservative, Jeb Hensarling (Not Jeb Bush???totally different Jeb) of the House Financial Services Committee. This Jeb and others are standing up against big government cronyism and President Obama???s interventions in the marketplace. These guys need your support. Eakes and his ilk are fully invested in attacking Republicans/Conservatives who are defending consumers in need of online loan products. The money trail points to the fact that the left is interested in taking down the competition for credit unions.
Competition is the American way. Crushing that competition through collusion and graft is not what we were founded on. The trail of money leads straight back to Obamas boy, Martin Eakes, and his Self-Help Credit Unions. It was rather profitable in North Carolina outlawing payday loans, just think if that could be done nationwide? It would mean billions. Now that you know. Tell your Congressmen to fight for this. I???m sure our Jeb, would love the support.