Johnson takes payola from pay-day loan lobbyists


One more reason why I have trouble supporting the Democratic party and their candidates. They continue to take money from lobbying groups that are bad for society. And Tim Johnson is no exception, taking money from one of the most crooked (legal) groups, Pay day loan centers;

A newer player representing Internet payday lenders — a growing segment of the market — also ramped up its lobbying and political giving efforts. The Online Lenders Alliance, formed in 2005, nearly quintupled, to $480,000, its lobbying expenditures from 2007 and 2008. It contributed $108,400 to candidates in advance of the 2008 elections compared to about $2,000 in the 2006 contests. Gutierrez was among the top House recipients, getting $4,600, and the top Senate recipient was Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., a Banking Committee member who got $6,900.

Of course, this is no surprise, but extremely disappointing considering the economy and the devasting affect these places have on lower income families, especially in South Dakota. Johnson should have known better.


#1 Ghost of Dude on 04.06.09 at 8:19 am

I doubt he’s planning to run again, so why would he act like he owes these clowns anything?
If it was me, I’d go out with a bang and basically call them quasi-legal loan sharks who do more harm than good.
That reminds me of something I noticed while driving down MN Ave. yesterday. Everything backwards about Sioux Falls’ economy in one small strip mall. There’s a title loan shark place right next to a telephone booth VL casino.

#2 l3wis on 04.06.09 at 8:24 am

Was there also a Pawn shop? That would have been the Trifecta!

#3 Ghost of Dude on 04.06.09 at 9:11 am

On that street between DT and 41st, there are probably ten pawn shops to go with all the payday and title loan sharks and phone booth casinos.

#4 Warren Phear on 04.06.09 at 10:35 am

You may find this transcript woth reading. I had been an avid Johnson supporter until I read this. No More.

#5 Costner on 04.06.09 at 10:37 am

I equate payday loan centers to the war on drugs. We would probably be better off if we focused upon demand than supply.

Thus, we first need to figure out why people think a payday loan center is a good idea, and then we need to educate them so they realize they are getting screwed.

Is it just me or does it seems like the only people who use those types of places are uneducated and the least likely to be able to afford the fees and interest, along with being the least likely to read a friggin’ contract.

I’m torn on this one – I support a free market and believe in personal responsibility, but on the other hand I wonder if we almost need to protect people from their own stupidity. It wreaks of nanny-stateism, but if someone is ignorant enough to think a 2200% loan is a good deal, they probably won’t be the first in line to a class about financial responsibility.

#6 Ghost of Dude on 04.06.09 at 11:04 am

I equate payday loan centers to the war on drugs. We would probably be better off if we focused upon demand than supply.

Apples to oranges. Drugs are illegal today, but cause more problems than if they were legalized and regulated.
The loan sharks are legal and regulated (poorly) but are a nasty pimple on society’s ass.

#7 l3wis on 04.06.09 at 11:19 am

Costner, believe it or not, I have heard rumors that many wealthy people use the places to ‘float’ money. Don’t really know how it works, but it is similiar to laundering money, or hiding debt. They usually will take the loan out one day, and pay it off within 24 hours.

The trap poor people get in is that banks won’t give you a line of credit on your checking account, unless you have good credit, so many of them have to use the places.

It seems you can either go to a bank to get a loan at a low interest, or you go to one of these places. There is no in between. I do think they could be regulated enough to be that in between though. I think there is a need for them, but I don’t think it is right that they are so greedy.

#8 Costner on 04.06.09 at 12:51 pm

Tough call I suppose. When banks try to give loans to people with less than stellar credit, they are labeled as predatory and sued for giving bad rates to sub-prime borrowers or accused of race-based lending practices, so for the most part the big banks aren’t even willing to bother with a loan that is outside the normal and accepted interest rates.

Payday or title loan centers do whatever the heck they want and charge interest rates with hidden fees equivalent to hundreds or even thousands of percent per year…. and people call them greedy or shady, but it doesn’t result in lawsuits or a harm to their reputation since they don’t have one.

The same people who say there is a need for such places are the same people who bitch they exist.

I just don’t get it. We all start out with no credit, and there are a lot better ways of building up credit than going to one of these places. I still say those using a payday loan center are too stupid to know better. It is sort of like the lottery….it is a self-imposed tax on those who can’t do math.

#9 l3wis on 04.06.09 at 1:05 pm

“It is sort of like the lottery….it is a self-imposed tax on those who can’t do math.”

Or understand ‘odds’ for that matter.

#10 Douglas Wiken on 04.06.09 at 1:05 pm

Regular bankers are lazy and expect to get rich doing nothing and taking no risk as they beg for more regulatory breaks, tax relief, etc.

Unfortunately, some of the same lazy bankers also own the payday loan joints.

Johnson has made at least two dreadful decisions possibly in the hope of courting SD conservatives who now attack him anyway for the same decisions. Those decisions were support of the Bush war in Iraq and support for the legislation favorable to credit card companies in bankruptcy, etc.

Those are sufficiently bad to justify getting him out of Congress. They also work for Thune, Herseth-Sanlin, and probably Daschle as well, but he is no longer influencing much of anything apparently.

#11 l3wis on 04.06.09 at 1:48 pm

What has always baffled me was this past election would have been the prime time for the SD GOP to pounce on Johnson and kick him to the curb, and who do they put up against him? Dykstra! I’ll be the first to say that the Republicans have been making really bad decisions ever since Reagan was preznit, but it seems lately they lack common sense. I probably would have voted against Johnson if they would have put a decent Republican against him. They just don’t get it, do they?

#12 Ghost of Dude on 04.06.09 at 2:39 pm

The SD GOP is totally out of decent candidates who haven’t been run through a gauntlet of their own party’s poo flingers. They seem to strive for mediocrity in anyone they put up for statewide or national office. Case in point: Marion Rounds.

#13 Costner on 04.06.09 at 2:39 pm

I don’t really think that was their (the party’s) fault – Dykstra was the only one willing to enter the ring. Going up against a popular incumbent with a medical condition makes the job slightly less attractive. Sort of like trying to enter a spelling bee against a down’s kid who also happensto be dyslexic… even if you win, you still are the bad guy, so you have to go easy on him.

However in Dykstra’s case, he just missed the opportunity. All he ever did was say “Johnson won’t debate, Johnson won’t debate, Johnson won’t debate” as if there was a string coming out his ass that someone was pulling every 3 minutes. I watched half a dozen interviews with the guy and read at least a couple of dozen articles about him, and I never did figure out his positions on the issues because he was just stuck on Johnson not debating him. Thus he was an unproven entity – not someone I would trust to represent me.

The SDGOP does have some issues with gathering talent however. Just look at Lein against Herseth-Sandlin and Diedrich a few years ealier. Unless she decided to film a campaign commercial inside of Planned Parenthood while an abortion is happening in the background, there was no way she was going to lose.

The SDGOP just doesn’t have any young talent that gets people interested, and the old guys are all too busy brokering new development deals to spend time campaigning for a job that would result in a 90% pay cut.

I expect to see Dusty Johnson from the PUC running for a bigger office within the next few election cycles, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him beat whoever he decides to go up against whether it be Johnson or Herseth-Sandlin, but beyond him everyone else that has been mentioned for Governor or as a potential threat to Herseth just bores me to tears.

#14 l3wis on 04.07.09 at 6:36 am

Quote of the day;

“The senator is supported by a broad cross-section of people,” she said. “Contributions do not affect his positions.”

#15 Ghost of Dude on 04.07.09 at 11:16 am

She didn’t think that through very well – or give us credit to see through it.
Why, then, would a lobbying group contribute to a campaign unless they had a resonable expectation that it would influence the senator’s votes?

#16 l3wis on 04.07.09 at 11:26 am

I know, isn’t it a hilarious statement? Like the public doesn’t know who lobbyists are.