FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BREAKING, FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Payday Loan Giant Raises Money For Governor's JanPAC, Mailer Supporting Jonathan Paton

Last night, Arizona's Politics reported on the new mailers being sent out by Governor Jan Brewer's SuperPAC, "Jan PAC", supporting Jonathan Paton in CD1 and Martha McSally in CD2.  Six weeks earlier, one of the nation's leading payday lending companies helped underwrite a Dallas fundraiser for Governor Brewer and her eponymously-named PAC.  The fundraiser raised exactly $35,000.00; the mailer in the Paton/Kirkpatrick race cost $35,567.15.

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Democratic groups have spent mightily to pin former state Senator Paton with the nickname "Payday Paton", because of his previous lobbying for payday lenders and for a ballot proposition (Prop. 200 in 2008) that would have maintained legalization of payday lending (the laws were sunsetting).

In the Jan PAC quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC"), the $2,500 contribution from "Cash America International" jumps out (page 8). Upon further inspection, it turns out that the lender - one of the top 5 payday lenders in the country - actually made an in-kind contribution, paying for food for the fundraiser (page 39).

They, along with Ernst & Young, EuroCopter, and Texas State Senator (and big payday lending proponent and recipient of campaign contributions from the industry) John Carona, underwrote the September 7 fundraiser (at an expense of 9,073.75).  The total of contributions raised from the Dallas area made on or about September 7 total to $35,000.00.

Carona hosted the fundraiser along with billionaire Ross Perot, Jr.  Governor Brewer had a public event the next day in Dallas.

Cash America International obviously does not have any payday lending outlets in Arizona, but does have a number of "Cash America Super Pawn" and "Mr. Payroll Check Cashing" locations around the state.  They spend heavily on political contributions and lobbying at both the federal and state levels, and include both Republicans and Democrats in their plans.

Previous reporting on Jan PAC's contributions rightly focused on the enormous ($110,000) contribution from Copart, and upon contributions from other companies with possible business interests in supporting the Governor's funds.  The September 7 Dallas fundraiser became more significant once Brewer decided to spend funds supporting Republican nominee Jonathan Paton (attacking Kirkpatrick); Paton's ties to payday lenders and the earlier campaign to prevent a ban of payday lending in Arizona have been repeatedly pushed by Democrats.

There is no evidence that Cash America International's (or John Perona's) fundraising support from Jan PAC came with an understanding that Brewer would come to Paton's defense.  However, it is noteworthy, especially since the amount raised is very close to the amount spent on the pro-Paton/anti-Kirkpatrick mailer.



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