April 13, 2018
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s ties to a title loan company in Georgia have put him in hot water.
As Jason Stein and Patrick Marley have reported for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, two lobbyists for the title loan company, Select Management Resources, went on a trip to London with Vos last August. The trip was paid for by the GOPAC Education Fund.
The CEO of Select Management Resources, Rod Aycox, has been a big donor to Republicans in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign notes that on October 5, 2016, Rod Aycox gave his largest donation, $20,000, to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee in Wisconsin, which Vos controls.
Just a few weeks earlier, Vos had sent a letter to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau in Washington, D.C., complaining that some regulations that had been proposed would be “so cumbersome they would effectively eliminate the short-term lending industry in Wisconsin.”
A 2016 report by WisPIRG found that Wisconsin residents pay a whopping average annual percentage rate of 589 percent on loans from this short-term lending industry.
According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Rod and his wife, Leslie, gave a total of $96,500 to candidates and legislative campaign committees between 2006 and 2018. All but $1,000 went to Republicans; they haven’t given to Democrats in more than a decade.
Select Management Resources owns 16 LoanMax stores in Wisconsin
In 2011, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill that loosened regulations on title loan companies in Wisconsin.
Aycox’s second biggest gift was $8,000 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate in Wisconsin, which he delivered on October 16, 2016.
His third biggest was to Gov. Walker, who got $5,000 on August 4, 2014.
And his fourth biggest gift was to Brad Schimel, who got $2,500 on March 5, 2017.
Vos’s counterpart in Ohio, Cliff Rosenberger, was on the same London trip as Vos, and Rosenberger is stepping down because of an FBI investigation into that trip, among other issues, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Vos told the Journal Sentinel he has not been contacted by the FBI.