Payday lenders fund Rogers’ NC-11 campaign


We received the following press release this morning from 11th District congressional candidate and our friend Cecil Bothwell, reprinted in its entirety (I take responsibility for the funny picture over there on the right).

It’s fascinating stuff. Follow the money, as they say…

From Bothwell for Congress:

For immediate release: May 2, 2012
What: Payday lenders fund Rogers’ NC 11 campaign From: Bothwell for Congress
Contact: Cecil Bothwell
Phone: 828-713-8840

The Bothwell for Congress campaign will accept no money from corporations or corporate PACs. Our campaign is entirely funded by individuals. (The committee donation listed on our campaign finance reports is Bothwell for Buncombe, funded by individuals for Bothwell’s local races in 2008 and 2009). Our opponent has taken tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs. The most questionable sources are payday lenders.

Hayden Rogers has accepted $17,500 from individuals, lobbyists and special interest groups associated with the Payday Loan Industry. All of these donors are from outside of North Carolina, hailing from places such as Las Vegas, Miami, and South Carolina.

They are all from out-of-state because North Carolina banned the Payday Loan Industry in 2001.

It took until 2006 to fully shut down the industry (which played a cat and mouse game exploiting loopholes, changing names, etc.). In a 2006 press release NC Attorney General Roy Cooper said: “We’ve fought payday lending at every turn and now we’re putting this industry out of business here in North Carolina. These payday lenders thought they’d found a way around North Carolina law. Now we’re showing them the way out of our state.”

With over 23,000 lending stores in the U.S. (more than Starbucks and McDonalds combined), payday loans represent a $59 billion a year industry. Its critics argue that it is a form of predatory lending that targets young and low- income workers. People in need of quick cash — usually a few hundred dollars — bring in their pay-stub, fill out paperwork and turn over a personal check post- dated two weeks later and written for the amount plus the “loan fee”. What many people don’t understand is that the fee is actually the annual interest rate. According to the North Carolina Department of Justice “payday loans may seem like a quick solution to a cash crunch, they’ll cost you a lot more in the long run. A payday loan of $100 to $500 can carry an annual interest rate of 390 to 780 percent. Payday loans are due in full on your next payday, typically in two weeks. If you aren’t able to repay the loan that fast, as most borrowers aren’t, you can get stuck on a debt treadmill. This happens when borrowers, unable to repay the loan, take out new loans or rollover the old one. You pay the fees on your loans over and over again, without ever being able to pay off the loan.”

New York, Georgia and 11 other states followed North Carolina and also banned them. Undeterred, the biggest players simply shifted operations and went online. Any attempt at meaningful Federal legislation from Congress was met with fierce lobbying efforts from groups such as the “Community Financial Services Association” and the “Online Lenders Alliance.” Both groups represent the payday loan industry.

To date, Rogers has taken corporate/PAC donations (which are reported separately from individual/personal donations) from:

Community Financial Services Association — Alexandria, VA — $5,000 Advance America Cash Advance Centers, Inc. — Spartanburg, SC — $2,500. Advance America is the largest chain of payday lenders in the U.S.

Rogers also took donations from the following individuals:

Lindsay Webster — Owner, Advance America, Spartanburg, SC — $1,250 William Webster IV — Chairman and Director, Advance America, Spartanburg — $1,250

Vincent K. Ney — CEO of GECC, Bergheim, TX — $2,500 —– Background on Ney: GECC are the initials of “Government Employees Credit Center, Inc.” is a Texas-based payday loan operator. Here’s a link to a press release from the West Virginia Attorney General: The headline: AG McGraw sues GECC and Dollar Financial for $3.9 million for continuing to make illegal internet payday loans.

Mark E. Curry gave $2,500. FEC law requires candidate to report a donor’s name, address and occupation for anything above $50. Rogers reports Curry lives in Las Vegas, but for Curry’s occupation Roger’s states “Information Requested.” However, our research has found a Mark E. Curry in Vegas who owns a collection agency (Smith, Haynes and Watson, LLC) that works for several payday loan shops. In 2011 Curry and his collection agency were in litigation with the AG of Maryland. Link: courts/nevada/nvdce/2:2011cv00908/81459/6/ Here is a story from a Baltimore paper with more:
My research also shows that a Mark E. Curry was formerly the chairman of the Online Lenders Alliance.

Tim Rupli –“Executive” at T.R. Rupli & Associates, McClean VA –$1,000 ….. Rupli runs a boutique lobbying firm that apparently only represents one client: The Community Financial Services Association. According to U.S. Senate records from 2008 Rupli spent $230,000 lobbying on behalf of CFSA. . Link: event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A087E88D-C384-40E5-844A-4CF543C476DD

Joshua S. Landy — $1,500 — No employer listed — Miami FL ….. Watchdog groups that track campaign financing show he donates to a lot of campaigns across the country. Some of these candidates’ FEC reports list his occupation differently, but include: U.S. Money Shops, National Processing Centers, and “President” of ACA (American Cash Advance).

Why is a candidate from NC attracting and accepting so much money from an industry banned in NC?



  1. Diogenes says:

    Cecil asks, “Why is a candidate from NC attracting and accepting so much money from an industry banned in NC?”

    Is it just a rhetorical question or does he know the answer?

    I sure don’t.

  2. Davyne Dial says:

    Dio…to me, there is an implication that they’ed work through him to return to NC.

  3. BettyGreene says:

    Why doesn’t Cecil stop obsessing over the other guy’s money and tell us how he plans to survive the snake pit that is Congress. They’ll eat him alive.

  4. Ascend of Asheville says:

    I think the snakes are between him and Congress. Once there, it’s really more of a hog farm. Lots of pork, lots of smell, and if they get really hungry they eat their own.

  5. Dixiegirlz says:

    ” They’ll eat him alive”. Hmmmmm, don’t think so. Just ask Bobby Medford and his imprisoned cronies .

  6. Betty, not obsessing. Pointing out. Most folks dance with the ones that brung them. I’m not for sale. Rogers is.

    Case closed.

  7. Michael Muller says:

    “Most folks dance with the ones that brung them.”

    I think that’s my favorite line of the entire 2012 campaign 🙂

  8. TJ says:

    Whether he’d be “eaten alive” or not, I don’t know. I know it’s hard to be one of the good guys in a corrupt culture. Still, it’s comforting to know that someone is willing to try…that there is still hope alive, and that in the face of tremendous challenges, someone is still willing to be the “voice in the wilderness….”

    It feels less lonely, when you know you are not alone.

  9. BettyGreene says:

    Case not closed. I’m still interested in how you will overcome the bipartisan gridlock, vote trading, false messaging and enormous pressure to fund raise.

  10. Tom Sullivan says:

    Would the “right” answer change your vote? Is your mind already made up? Does the answer really matter to you? If not, you are just trolling.

  11. TJ says:

    “I’m still interested in how you will overcome the bipartisan gridlock, vote trading, false messaging and enormous pressure to fund raise.”

    Hmmmm, just a wild guess here, but, since his platform is about transparency and honesty…

    Let’s see…. good character and honesty?

    Or, do you have a problem being honest if no one is watching? Or, in the case of some politicians, even while someone IS watching.

    In the time I’ve spent getting to know Cecil, I have yet to find him to be inconsistant or unreliable with how he presents himself.

    No one’s perfect, but, at least with Cecil, it seems what you see IS what you get.

  12. BettyGreene says:

    My interest is in sending someone to the House who has the skills to create the relationships that are necessary to move legislation forward in the face of terrible obstruction. Alliances are important and negotiation is paramount. The work of our district requires that we have an individual who is respected by other Members and is able to “work the system,” however flawed, to our advantage.

    I don’t know Cecil TJ and I’m glad to hear that others believe him to be reliable and consistent. My vote is already cast but others are not. An informed decision is difficult to make when candidates spend the hard earned money of their donors tearing each other down rather than giving us a reason to believe they have the chops.

  13. TJ says:

    Okay, Betty, in all seriousness, now.

    “Alliances are important and negotiation is paramount”

    I would agree, however, this is where the trouble seems to begin. No one likes to feel like the “odd man out,” and, so, we try to all “get along.” This often means anything from building personal and professional relationships that are immeasurable in their value, up to doing all kinds of irresponsible/irrational things to try to get someone to back you. Too many people, indeed, know how to “work the system(and the community).”

    “An informed decision is difficult to make when candidates spend the hard earned money of their donors tearing each other down rather than giving us a reason to believe they have the chops”

    Maybe I have missed a lot, as I don’t go to all the political happenings, so, this is just a personal perception based on times I HAVE seen Cecil:

    I sat in a room full of Tea Party folks in Arden a few months back. Cecil said not one unkind thing about the other candidates, while the other candidates made their opinion clear about the stupidity of anyone who believes global warming is a real issue, that immigrants need ANY kind of consideration (I withheld MY comment that if they thought immigrants should stay and fix their own countries, then, why are we here, rather than staying in England to fix OUR problems there?), and how they didn’t need to address joblessness, because there is no “job problem.” (Sorry, Cecil, I forgot all about sending you the quotes I jotted down-I actually found them again a couple of days ago).

    The main thing I have heard Cecil emphasize is how he refuses to accept corporate funding (which I see as luadable), and, when the other candidates do, or don’t seem to see that as a problem. Clearly, there are differences, which is to be expected. However, I am sure Cecil could dig up dirt, but, I have never seen or heard of him doing that.

    FYI, my experience is that Cecil is VERY accessible (within reason with his campaign schedule). If you REALLY wish to know him better, I bet you could call him, and set up a lunch meet/greet.

    Or, just wait to ambush him after the next City Council meeting ;-).

  14. BettyGreene says:

    TJ good thoughts all.
    Collaboration is the only way to move initiatives along in DC. I’m assuming Cecil would join the Progressive Caucus and seek out like minded Members with experience in getting their bills through committee or to the floor. Congressman Shuler sits on one of the most powerful committees in the House. We lose as a district when that seat goes elsewhere. Party leaders determine who sits where and it is expected that you fund raise to a certain level in order to rise in the party.

    (lovely, I know, but there is is.)

    On Cecil’s radio spot, which is where his donors hard earned money is spent, he states, “Hayden Rogers represents everything that is wrong with Washington.” I consider that to be a negative attack on his opponent rather than a positive self promoting statement.

  15. Betty, Hayden Rogers represents everything that is wrong in Washington.

    If we can’t change the culture that he and Heath subscribe to, we can’t change anything meaningful.

    That’s the deal.

  16. BettyGreene says:

    Cecil my point was that you chose to use your airtime to make that statement instead of choosing one that highlights your own achievements.

    And exactly how you plan to, “change the culture that he and Heath subscribe to,” is what I had hoped to learn.

    That’s the deal.

  17. TJ says:

    “make that statement instead of choosing one that highlights your own achievements”

    😉 Isn’t that what FB is for?