Thursday, October 22, 2009

McDonnell's Donors: Whose Payday Is It?

A recent News 7 story caught my eye. The story was about a Franklin County man stuck in a predatory loan, and it reminded me of how pervasive the industry is--especially when it comes to the coffers of Virginia political candidates. It's worth it to follow the link and take a look; this is happening all over rural Virginia.

Before moving on, I feel I must give a hat tip to Republican Del. Dave Nutter, who is quoted in the above story as supporting tighter regulations for payday lenders. It's not very often that a conservative comes out for new regulations; this is certainly a testament to how truly awful payday loans actually are, and proof that Nutter, at least on this issue, gets it.

But does Mr. McDonnell get it? One of the most-repeated memes in Virginia politics is that payday lenders have deep pockets and politicians reap the benefits. I was interested in finding out how true that is in this particular election, and I headed over to our good friends at

It turns out that at least one payday lender in Virginia has been quite kind to Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign. McDonnell received $10,000 from Ace Cash Advance, which is based in Irving, TX. McDonnell is the only candidate who has received money from Ace Cash Advance in this election, though they also donated $2,000 to the Virginia GOP Senate caucus. A bit of Googling will bring you a few horror stories from Consumer Affairs, such as this one:

Ace Cash Express began calling me at home, no big deal. I was polite with them although they were very rude, and said enjoy the money loser! before hanging up on multiple calls.

Then Ace decided to call my work. I am a supervisor of a night call center, and when they call there is no secretary at night so I pick up the phone when there is a call. So when Ace called at 4:30 PM (shortly after I had arrived) I explained that I cannot receive calls regarding this at work. The girl said she did not care, and would continue to call until I paid. I explained that that is against the law specifically the FDCPA and I asked for her name, and explained I would be contacting her supervisor, as well as, the attorney general, and a lawyer if they were to call my work again.

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