GOP Senate nominee Ted Budd sided with the payday lenders when he accepted their PAC donations

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Republican Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina opposed consumer protections against bootleg loans, even though his own state bans the practice.

North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd has consistently sided with predatory lenders and the payday loan industry, even though payday loans are banned in his state. The industry has rewarded him with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Budd, who is currently serving his third term in the US House of Representatives, is running against former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) this November for the open seat of outgoing Republican Senator Richard Burr. He calls himself a “liberal agenda-breaker” who “will work for everyday families, not the elite or political insiders.”

But Budd’s notes indicate otherwise. He has consistently supported lenders who prey on low-income people with abusive repayment terms and exploitative tactics, practices that have been illegal in North Carolina for more than 20 years.

Many financial services companies offer payday or “cash advance” loans, which are short-term loans with a high interest rate based on the borrower’s expected income on the next payday.

North Carolina is among the states that have cracked down on these practices. According to the Department of Justice, “North Carolina has some of the strictest unfair credit laws in the nation and was the first state to enact a comprehensive law against predatory home loans.”

The state has banned payday loans since 2001. After state officials filled a loophole in 2006, the state’s payday lending operations shut down entirely.

Republicans in Washington, DC, at the behest of the credit industry, have pushed to overturn these and other state regulations. A rule enacted in late 2020 by then-President Donald Trump’s administration allowed lenders to work with out-of-state banks to circumvent state restrictions.

Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate overthrew the Trump administration in 2021. Budd and almost all other Republicans voted to keep them.

In March 2018, Budd signed on as a co-sponsor of an effort to overturn a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule that cracks down on payday, auto titles and other expensive loans.

In July 2020 and again in February 2021, Budd introduced a Freedom from Regulations Act that would have restricted the actions of independent bodies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

His spokesman told the right-wing Epoch Times after the first bill was filed that efforts “focused on some of the most far-reaching and economically impactful regulations that independent agencies have implemented, such as the CFPB’s 2017 payday credit rule, the FCC rule.” . Net neutrality rule, the NLRB’s cross-employer rule.”

As Budd repeatedly sided with the payday lenders, the payday lenders repeatedly filled his campaign fund.

He received at least $2,500 from the Community Financial Services Association of America PAC, the policy arm of the payday loan industry trade association. A spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to a request about the donations.

Budd’s June 2022 campaign funding report referenced thousands of dollars in PAC contributions from payday loan companies.

Some of the industry donations he received came within days of a key vote.

On May 4, 2017, Budd voted to move the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 forward by the House Financial Services Committee. The package, aimed primarily at reversing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, included a section stipulating that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “has no regulation, enforcement or other power with respect to exercise on payday loans, vehicle title loans, or other similar loans.”

“They’re trying to sneak that provision in,” Diane Standaert, then executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. “It seems like they were hoping no one would notice.”

Several financial executives donated to Budd this month, including at least one payday lender.

On May 31, he received $1,000 from Scott Wisniewski, the CEO of Western Shamrock Corporation, which offers wage advance loans and has been described as a “predatory lender” by the advocacy group Texans for Public Justice.

A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic nominee Beasley, who supports her state’s ban, told the American Independent Foundation in an email statement, “Payday lenders have a long history of taking advantage of hard-working Americans, and it’s unacceptable that Washington politicians like Ted Budd chose to lead their campaign rather than hold them accountable. In the Senate, I will always work against corporate special interests to protect North Carolina residents from predatory lenders.”

Budd has historically sided with his donors regarding his North Carolina constituents.

He accepted input from pharmaceutical interests within days of voting against a bill to cut prescription drug prices in 2019, and took money from the oil and gas sector a day before the vote to avoid banning industry price-gouging.

Budd’s reps did not respond to an inquiry about this story.

Published with kind permission of the American Independent Foundation.

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