Atlanta Democrat David Scott made headlines earlier this month for remarks on payday lending that closely tracked with previous testimony from a top lobbyist for those lenders.
Now a nonpartisan watchdog group says Scott has received more than $72,000 from the industry since being elected to the House in 2002.
“The bulk of that money was contributed during the Great Recession, which prompted lawmakers to develop the Dodd-Frank Act and rein in predatory lending practices to consumers. In 2008, as the global financial crisis came to a head, the payday loan industry gave Scott more than $17,000.”
“Of the seven-term congressman’s haul from the industry, about $22,000 came from Atlanta or nearby Peachtree City, making some of the lenders hometown fans of his. Scott’s 13th Congressional District includes part of Atlanta.”
Scott is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over banking, insurance, international finance-related issues and, yes, the payday loan industry.
Scott spokesman Michael Andel had this to say about the recent attention:
“An activist wrote this for click-bait headlines. Congressman Scott has been pushing for federal regulation of short-term lending to curb abusive practices. Lots of working people fall short of funds before the end of the month. Falling short of cash could mean car repossession, eviction or legal problems. How can they bridge that gap without being gouged? Congressman Scott has been trying to address these problems in a serious way. Underbanked people need help, not a headline.”
It’s commonplace in Washington for lawmakers to receive campaign contributions from the industries they help oversee in their committee assignments. Interests that are particularly lucrative, such as the financial services industry, can be particularly generous when it comes to sending money to their congressional overseers.
Here’s a look at what the industries overseen by the House Financial Services Committee gave to members of the panel during the last election cycle. Open Secrets, the Center for Responsive Politics’ website for tracking contributions, also has nifty industry-by-industry breakdowns by lawmaker.
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