'Payday Lenders' Flagged for Illegal Contributions

In this update: 1. Loan sharks among 14 flagged for illegal campaign donations 2. Reminder: Hearing today in Eau Claire 3. Jensen clock still ticking 'Payday Lenders' Flagged for Illegal Contributions 

Email date: 10/15/09

In this update:
1. Loan sharks among 14 flagged for illegal campaign donations
2. Reminder: Hearing today in Eau Claire
3. Jensen clock still ticking

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3 loan sharks among 14 flagged for illegal campaign donations
The Democracy Campaign today called attention to 14 individuals, including three so-called "payday lenders," who ran afoul of state finance laws by exceeding the annual limit on contributions to Wisconsin candidates and political committees in 2008.

Last month WDC issued a report showing record donations by owners of payday loan outlets aimed at persuading lawmakers to derail legislation curbing the legalized loan sharking the industry engages in.

Identifying violators proved more challenging this year because of the failings of the state’s new online reporting system for campaign finances. Five donations totaling $2,350 made by four of the contributors were missing on the system. WDC found them by double checking other electronic and paper filings by candidates and political committees. This is not the first time the Democracy Campaign has spelled out problems with the new system. At the beginning of September WDC presented testimony on the system’s shortcomings to an Assembly committee.

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Reminder: Hearing today in Eau Claire
This afternoon is the last in a series of public hearings held by that same Assembly committee, which plans to use the citizen input to develop legislation overhauling the way state legislative elections and contests for statewide offices like governor and attorney general are financed. If you are in the Eau Claire area and are able to attend, go here for details about the hearing.

As we noted in our last E-Lert, there will be more opportunities to get involved next week and the week after as rallies will be held in locations around the state to push for final action on the Impartial Justice bill creating publicly financed state Supreme Court elections. For times and locations, go here.

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Jensen clock is still ticking
Our Big Money Blog continues to keep track of how long it’s been since former Speaker Scott Jensen was criminally charged with misconduct in public office. It’s 2,554 days and counting. And justice waits.