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Payday Payday: How Predatory Lending Money Flows Through Missouri Politics

Predatory lenders spend a lot of money on Missouri politicians and Missouri political consultants to protect their obscene business practices from basic interest rate limits and other reforms.

Beyond direct contributions to political candidates, predatory lenders are also sending huge sums of money to political consultants and politically-connected firms to block or slow any movement to clean up the industry in Jefferson City.

Predatory lenders spend a lot of money on Missouri politicians and Missouri political consultants to protect their obscene business practices from basic interest rate limits and other reforms. "Missouri is fertile soil for high-cost lenders," despite triple digit interest rates on payday loans and other high-cost loans that target families in crisis.

Beyond direct contributions to political candidates, predatory lenders are also sending huge sums of money to political consultants and politically-connected firms to block or slow any movement to clean up the industry in Jefferson City. Our analysis shows that the payday lenders' front group, Missourians For Equal Credit Opportunity, raised an incredible $987,000 this campaign cycle, even though there was no effort to collect signatures for a payday lending ballot measure. It gets worse, the Stand Up Missouri front group, funded almost entirely by installment lenders from outside Missouri, moved almost $400,000 into their ballot committee this cycle, allegedly to fight the same non-existent ballot measure.

Where is all of this money going? As you'll see below, it's going to Republican consultants, lawyers and politicians from across the state -- and from both major political parties. Below, you'll read:

Our lack of real predatory lending laws are an embarrassment, and a disservice to the thousands of Missouri families ensnared in tragic cycles of debt.


 

How Predatory Lending Money Moves Through Ballot Issue Committees In Missouri

The Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity (MECO) campaign committee, “a front for the payday loan industry,” was first established with the Missouri Ethics Commission in July 2011 by James C Thomas III. Thomas “is associated with Jeff Roe, founder of Axiom Strategies and a former chief of staff to Rep. Sam Graves.”

One hundred percent of the receipts reported by MECO have come from Missourians for Responsible Government (MRG), a 501(c)(4) organization that is not required to disclose the sources of its funding. Missourians for Responsible Government has been lead by Patrick Tuohey, the “the western Missouri field manager” for the Show-Me Institute, a State Policy Network affiliate for which radical ideologue Rex Sinquefield is president.

Despite MECO’s funders attempts to remain anonymous, filings by QC Holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission provide “strong clues” about who is footing the bill. ProPublica:

Payday lender QC Holdings declared in a 2012 filing that it had spent "substantial amounts" to defeat the Missouri initiative [to reform predatory lending laws in Missouri]. QC, which mostly does business as Quik Cash (not to be confused with Kwik Kash), has 101 outlets in Missouri. In 2012, one-third of the company’s profits came from the state, twice as much as from California, its second-most profitable state. If the initiative got to voters, the company was afraid of the outcome: "ballot initiatives are more susceptible to emotion" than lawmakers’ deliberations, it said in an annual filing. And if the initiative passed, it would be catastrophic, likely forcing the company to default on its loans and halt dividend payments on its common stock, the company declared.

In late 2012, QC and other major payday lenders, including Cash America and Check into Cash, contributed $88,000 to a group called Freedom PAC. MECO and Freedom PAC shared the same treasurer and received funds from the same 501(c)(4). Freedom PAC spent $79,000 on ads against [former Rep. Mary] Still [a payday lending reformer] in her 2012 losing bid for a state senate seat, state records show. (The mention of Still seems to have come out of nowhere.)

The other ballot committee established in 2012 to defeat the popular ballot initiative to reform predatory lending laws was Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity, which reported no contributions from QC Holdings. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that QC’s money moved through MRG to MECO.

The following table summarizes MECO’s contributions reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission. (MECO has actually been three separate administrative committees with the MEC since 2011, and we have removed balance transfers between the committees for clarity.)

Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity Contributions, 2011-2014:

  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 8/19/2011 - $200,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 9/26/2011 - $250,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 11/10/2011- $150,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 4/11/2012 - $46,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 4/11/2012 - $140,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 4/12/2012 - $100,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 4/20/2012 - $75,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 4/25/2012 - $321,400.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 1/5/2012 - $250,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 3/2/2012 - $250,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 3/21/2012 - $260,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 10/26/2012 - $414,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 12/28/2012 - $96,432.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 7/26/2012 - $210,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 6/11/2012 - $181,500.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 1/22/2013 - $153,260.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 3/21/2013 - $81,480.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 10/24/2013 - $395,000.00
  • Missourians for Responsible Government - 1/28/2014 - $395,000.00

Note that MECO has raised about one million dollars through MRG in the 2014 cycle, during which there was no serious effort of any kind to collect signatures for a predatory lending reform initiative petition.

Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity (MECO) is not the only committee raising and spending lending industry money to block consumer protections. The ironically-named Stand Up Missouri committee has also raised more than $1.2M since 2011, all of it from out-of-state corporations. Indeed, less than one percent of Stand Up Missouri’s money actually came from Missouri addresses – just $11,400 out of $1,194,726 collected since 2011.

Stand Up Missouri’s CEO and chairman is also the vice president of Western Shamrock Corp, a high-interest “consumer installment” lender from Texas.

Stand Up Missouri Contributions, 2011-2014:

  • American Financial Services Association, Washington, DC, 12/12/2011, $5,000.00
  • American Financial Services Association, Washington, DC, 2/4/2013, $45,000.00
  • American Financial Services Association, Washington, DC, 1/21/2014, $45,000.00
  • Banner Finance, St Louis, MO, 12/12/2011, $4,000.00
  • Banner Finance, St Louis, MO, 8/8/2012, $400.00
  • Banner Finance, St Louis, MO, 4/10/2012, $800.00
  • Banner Finance, St Louis, MO, 10/9/2012, $400.00
  • Banner Finance, St Louis, MO, 12/3/2012, $800.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Angelo, TX, 11/22/2011, $32,000.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Angelo, TX, 8/8/2012, $3,300.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Angelo, TX, 8/13/2012, $3,300.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Angelo, TX, 4/10/2012, $6,600.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Angelo, TX, 11/20/2012, $6,600.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Antonio, TX, 11/4/2013, $4,125.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Antonio, TX, 4/29/2013, $4,125.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Antonio, TX, 8/5/2013, $8,250.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Antonio, TX, 8/12/2013, $8,250.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc, San Antonio, TX, 1/13/2014, $16,500.00
  • Brundage Management Company, Inc., San Antonio, TX, 11/22/2011, $32,000.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 10/15/2013, $500.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 4/22/2013, $500.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 7/8/2013, $500.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 8/20/2013, $1,000.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 2/11/2013, $500.00
  • Don's Loan Service, INC, St Louis, MO, 1/8/2014, $2,000.00
  • LOTSOLUTIONS, Inc. A fortegra Company, Jacksonville, FL, 1/30/2012, $5,000.00
  • National Installment Lender Association, Washington, DC, 2/4/2013, $45,000.00
  • National Installment Lenders Assoc., Washington, DC, 2/11/2014, $45,000.00
  • National Installment Lenders Association, Washington, DC, 3/5/2012, $50,000.00
  • Noble Finance Corp., Boerne, TX, 12/12/2011, $10,000.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 10/15/2013, $1,375.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 12/16/2013, $6,000.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 4/22/2013, $1,125.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 7/15/2013, $1,375.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 9/3/2013, $2,750.00
  • Personal Finance Company, LLC, Olympia Fields, IL, 2/25/2013, $1,125.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 11/29/2011, $2,000.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 11/29/2011, $2,000.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 12/10/2013, $250.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 12/9/2013, $1,000.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 4/22/2013, $250.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 7/8/2013, $250.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 8/20/2013, $500.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 1/8/2013, $1,200.00
  • Ponca Finance Company, Inc., Ponca City, OK, 2/4/2013, $250.00
  • PTS Financial Services, Inc., Calhoun, GA, 2/6/2012, $5,000.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 10/21/2013, $1,250.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 12/16/2013, $5,000.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 4/29/2013, $1,250.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 7/15/2013, $1,250.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 9/3/2013, $2,500.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 2/4/2013, $1,250.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 8/8/2012, $1,000.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 9/24/2012, $1,000.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 4/23/2012, $2,000.00
  • RBS Computer System DBA Royal Management, San Antonio, TX, 11/20/2012, $2,000.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 10/21/2013, $5,875.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 4/29/2013, $5,875.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 7/22/2013, $5,875.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 8/12/2013, $11,750.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 1/28/2013, $5,875.00
  • Security Group Inc, Spartanburg, SC, 1/8/2014, $23,500.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 11/29/2011, $48,000.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 11/29/2011, $48,000.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 8/8/2012, $4,700.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 9/24/2012, $4,700.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 5/7/2012, $9,600.00
  • Security Group, Inc., Spartanburg, SC, 11/20/2012, $9,400.00
  • SourceLink, Madison, MS, 12/27/2011, $44,375.73
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 11/22/2011, $34,000.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 11/22/2011, $34,000.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 8/8/2012, $3,500.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 4/16/2012, $6,800.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 10/16/2012, $3,600.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 11/20/2012, $7,600.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 10/21/2013, $4,750.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 12/10/2013, $19,000.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 4/22/2013, $4,750.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 7/8/2013, $4,750.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 8/12/2013, $9,500.00
  • Tower Loan, Flowood, MS, 1/28/2013, $4,750.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 11/29/2011, $20,000.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 11/29/2011, $20,000.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 8/8/2012, $2,200.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 9/24/2012, $2,300.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 5/7/2012, $4,400.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 12/21/2012, $4,400.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 11/4/2013, $2,875.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 11/4/2013, $5,750.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 12/16/2013, $11,500.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 4/22/2013, $2,875.00
  • Wallace Management Co., McAlester, OK, 8/20/2013, $5,750.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 11/22/2011, $10,000.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 8/8/2012, $700.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 9/24/2012, $700.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 4/10/2012, $1,400.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 11/20/2012, $1,400.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 11/22/2011, $10,000.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 10/21/2013, $875.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 12/16/2013, $3,500.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 4/22/2013, $875.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 7/8/2013, $875.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 8/12/2013, $1,750.00
  • Western Shamrock Corporation, San Angelo, TX, 1/22/2013, $875.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 11/22/2011, $72,000.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 11/22/2011, $72,000.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 8/13/2012, $7,500.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 9/24/2012, $7,600.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 4/10/2012, $14,400.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 11/20/2012, $15,200.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 10/15/2013, $9,500.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 12/9/2013, $38,000.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 4/22/2013, $9,500.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 7/8/2013, $9,500.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 8/12/2013, $19,000.00
  • World Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, SC, 1/22/2013, $9,600.00

As you can see, Stand Up Missouri is dominated by non-Missouri lenders, and continued to raise money through 2014, despite the lack of a proactive signature gathering effort for predatory lending reforms during this 2013-2014 election cycle.


Who is getting paid by the Lenders’ Ballot Issue Committees?

The monies raised and spent by lenders to oppose basic consumer protections are staggering.  But which consultants and companies are getting paid by these committees to thwart citizens’ demands through the initiative petition process and through pliable politicians in Jefferson City?  Filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission show committee money going to a relatively few firms and consultants.

Here’s how MECO has distributed its cash since inception through 2014:

  • Axiom Strategies - $1,447,787.25
  • Silver Bullet - $1,004,000.00
  • Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett / Graves & Garrett - $423,218.38
  • Stinson Morrison Hecker - $297,055.00
  • Revolution Media Group - $241,835.00
  • Law Office of James C. Thomas III - $57,568.65
  • Wilson Perkins Allen - $42,765.51
  • Kansas City Call - $7,140.00
  • The St. Louis American - $4,599.00
  • Joseph Haslag - $ 3,750.00
  • Kinetic 5 - $1,650.00

As you can see, money went to just a few hired guns, namely:

  • Jeff Roe’s Axiom Strategies for “regional operations management,” “compliance oversight,” and other unspecified services.
  • The Silver Bullet Group for “signature gathering” on sham petitions and “signature verification.”
  • The Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett, Stinson Morrison Hecker and James C Thomas III law firms.
  • Joseph Haslag, the “Chief Economist” for Rex Sinquefield’s Show-Me Institute and the Kenneth Lay Chair in Economics at Mizzou, named for one of the University’s most disgraced alumni.

What’s especially interesting is how much money some of these firms have received during the 2014 initiative petition cycle, during which no credible signature gathering effort was mounted.  A breakdown of the firms pocketing predatory lending money during this 2013-2014 period of non-activity is as follows:

  • Axiom Strategies - $364,189.34
  • Law Office of James C. Thomas III - $31,985.84
  • Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett / Graves & Garrett - $29,117.35
  • Stinson Morrison Hecker - $4,888.00
  • Kinetic 5 - $1,650.00

Stand Up Missouri’s overall spending was less than MECO’s, but their committee reports show money going to numerous additional consultants and firms. Top Stand Up Missouri Spending vendors for 2011-2014:

  • Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C.  $213,489.41
  • Dolphin Media Group  $213,173.25
  • SNR Denton  $166,613.31
  • Denton US LLP  $80,000.00
  • Saveer Entertainment  $ 40,000.00
  • Cheryl Dozier $38,375.47
  • Missouri Legislative Black Caucus  $20,000.00
  • NATIONAL CONVENTION-L.E.C  $ 20,000.00
  • Armstrong Teasdale LLP  $18,611.78
  • American Express $11,120.30
  • Keymer, Inc  $10,639.50
  • One Goal Consultants  $7,500.00
  • Harold Black $7,120.81
  • Renewal Financial  $4,000.00
  • Whyte, Hirschboeck, Dudek S.C.  $3,765.00
  • Siete Consulting  $3,600.00
  • Baptist Ministers Union  $3,000.00
  • Springfield News-Leader  $2,508.00
  • Kansas City Freedom Schools  $2,500.00
  • Kansas City Urban Summit  $2,500.00
  • Tom Miller $2,049.19
  • Renewal Financial Services, LLC  $2,000.00
  • A Story Must Be Told  $1,035.48
  • St. Louis Baptist Ministers Union Christmas Celebration  $1,000.00

Stand Up Missouri’s consultants continued to be paid through the 2013-2014 cycle of very limited initiative petition activity as well:

  • Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C. - $129,670.38
  • SNR Denton - $100,828.25
  • Denton US LLP - $80,000.00
  • Cheryl Dozier - $38,375.47
  • Saveer Entertainment - $27,000.00
  • Missouri Legislative Black Caucus - $20,000.00
  • National Convention-L.E.C - $20,000.00
  • Keymer, Inc - $10,639.50
  • One Goal Consultants - $7,500.00
  • Harold Black - $7,120.81
  • Renewal Financial - $4,000.00
  • Baptist Ministers Union - $3,000.00
  • Kansas City Freedom Schools - $2,500.00
  • Kansas City Urban Summit - $2,500.00
  • Tom Miller - $2,049.19
  • Renewal Financial Services, LLC - $2,000.00

What sort of work did these companies provide for predatory lenders during this cycle? MEC records don’t reveal much. SNR Denton and Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, LC were paid for unspecified “professional services.” Lobbyist Cheryl Dozier, who is also the Executive Director for the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, was paid for “professional services” and “community outreach.” Saveer Entertainment of Olivette and St. Louis was paid for “professional services” and “media.”


Which politicians and political committees are receiving predatory lending contributions?

Missouri Ethics Commission reports show that enormous sums of money move from predatory lending companies and interests to politicians, parties and PACs across the state – and across party lines.  Significant sums are funneled through the MO Consumer Lenders PAC, managed by lobbyist Randy Scherr of Jefferson City. Scherr is a lobbyist for many corporations, including the United Payday Lenders of Missouri (UPLM). The UPLM Board of Directors includes representatives of QC Financial Services, Just Say Cash, Advance America and The Loan Machine.  

Many predatory lending companies also contribute to politicians, party committees and PACs directly. Top recipients of predatory lending money from companies and via the MO Consumer Lenders PAC, 2007-2014, include:

  • House Republican Campaign Committee, $207,750.00
  • Majority Fund (Senate Republicans), $173,425.00
  • Former Speaker Steve Tilley, $88,150.00
  • Missouri Republican Party, $79,725.00
  • Attorney General Chris Koster, $77,200.00
  • Freedom PAC, $58,000.00
  • Missouri Democratic Party, $55,000.00
  • Speaker Tim Jones, $52,325.00
  • House Democratic Campaign Committee, $55,350.00
  • Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, $52,300.50
  • Economic Growth Council PAC, $52,000.00
  • Rep. Kevin Engler, $46,612.50
  • Sen. Mike Parson, $33,200.00
  • Former Rep. Mike Talboy, $26,900.00
  • Sen. Tom Dempsey, $26,175.00
  • Sen. Jay Wasson, $24,525.00
  • Speaker-Elect John Diehl, $24,250.00
  • Sen. Brad Lager, $22,675.00
  • Former Sen. Victor Callahan, $19,125.00
  • Sen. Mike Cunningham, $18,325.00

A full list of payday, installment, title and other predatory lending donations used to calculate these totals may be found here.


What Real Change Looks Like

Predatory lending is gutting our communities and corrupting our democracy. It is time for real reform, not laws written by the payday lending industry and rubber-stamped by legislators.

The average interest rate on a payday loan in Missouri is 455%.  That’s one of the highest averages in the nation, and it’s 27 times the interest rate cap in Arkansas, where lenders can’t charge more than 17% APR. Families pay fees upon fees upon fees, lining the pockets of predatory lenders in exchange for what was advertised as a quick fix.  In reality, it is a stepping stone toward bankruptcy.

Sham “reform” bills like SB 694, which would have allowed rates up to 900% APR, are gifts to the legalized loansharking industry. And many of the legislators who supported the bill were big beneficiaries of checks from the payday lending industry. The worst of it is, payday lenders are able to line the pockets of our elected leaders because they strip hundreds of millions of dollars straight out of the bank accounts of our most vulnerable families every year.

Real reform ends this debt trap.  Real reform outlaws triple digit interest rates and prevents payday lenders from fleecing poor families who have absolutely no capacity to repay a loan.   

The Missouri Legislature can stop the debt trap.  A 36% annual percentage rate (APR) cap, just like what Congress put in place for the military and what thousands of Missourians voters support as the solution, would immediately provide relief for hundreds of thousands of our working families.  (We can add detail about the 17 states and DC that already have this, etc)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) can reform the industry.  Though this federal agency is not empowered to end the debt trap nationally by capping payday loan interest rates, the CFPB can take significant steps to protect consumers.  For example, the CFPB can pass rules to make sure that lenders take into account a borrower’s ability to repay a loan.  If the CFPB is aggressive in its rulemaking, some of the worst predatory practices of the industry could be eliminated. You can be a part of the solution.  

The vast majority of Missourians support a 36% APR cap on payday loans, but this moral imperative has been drowned out by the deep pockets of predatory industry operatives.  Missouri legislators need to hear from voters like you more than they hear from the payday lending lobbyists, and we must demand nothing less than a 36% APR cap on all lending products.  Meanwhile, you can make sure your members of Congress know that the CFPB must past the strongest rules possible to reign in the payday industry.  As momentum for national reform grows, you can sign up for rapid response alerts at tinyurl.com/MOPaydayAlert to immediately respond to payday reform opportunities.