Steve Russell: Payday loan donations funneled to Utah politician

Steve Russell on corruption in Utah, with the help of a politician and the payday lending industry:
The New York Times reports that resigned Utah Attorney General John Swallow was elected with money from payday lenders, who have been targeted for their unfair practices by President Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Republicans failed to cut off funding for the CFPB and for years refused to confirm anybody to head it. Obama’s first choice, Elizabeth Warren, got elected to the US Senate largely because that same Senate would not confirm her, or anybody else, to head the CFPB.

Everybody knows consumers don’t need protection, right? If you don’t like being ripped off by Citibank, you can “choose” Bank of America or Wells Fargo. When one of those behemoth banks advertises, “you need an Ally,” they don’t have Uncle Sam in mind.

Threatened on the federal level, payday lenders set out to buy themselves some local protection, and I don’t think for a second that Utah is the only state where they decided to play. It’s amazing how much money can be made ripping off poor people for what little they have.

The payday lender money was laundered though fake public interest groups such as the “Proper Role of Government Education Association.”

Fake public interest groups are organized under Sec. 501(c)(4) of the IRS Code, which says tax exemption (and political disclosure exemption) is limited to groups “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” The IRS rules implementing this law morphed that to “operated primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterments and social improvements” and dirty money has moved through this loophole by the truckload.

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: How to Drain the Cesspool of Government Corruption (Indian Country Today 4/8)

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