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Lender Lobbyists Form Ballot Question Committee to Oppose Interest Rate Cap

Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey and politicoffee-maker Steve Hildebrand haven’t even started circulating their petition to place an interest-rate cap on the 2016 ballot, but the lending industry is already mobilizing against them to protect predatory payday lenders. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has posted the statement of organization for the “Committee for Regulated Lending,” a ballot question committee created by Pierre lawyers Brett Koenecke, counsel and lobbyist for the South Dakota Banking Association, and Doug Abraham, who lobbied on behalf of the Consumer Lending Alliance to kill Rep. Hickey’s 2014 attempt to further regulate payday lending.

Koenecke and Abraham declare on the committee statement of organization that the purpose of the Committee for Regulated Lending is “Keeping financial options available for South Dakotans.” It sounds like they will expand on blog reader and financial expert Troy Jones’s argument that payday lenders, who would not be able to conduct business as they know it under the 36% interest rate cap Hickey and Hildebrand have in mind, provide an important and useful financial service to low-income folks. We hear here the same thinking behind the youth minimum wage: in South Dakota, giving people more opportunities means making them poorer.

Follow the Money says the Consumer Lending Alliance has given $1.75 million to hundreds of candidates and organizations nationwide over the last fifteen years to defend payday lenders from sane and healthy regulations. They appear not to have contributed to any South Dakota candidates yet, but the formation of this ballot question committee suggests the Consumer Lending Alliance is getting ready to send some money South Dakota’s way.


  1. Steve Hickey 2015-04-23 18:00

    Back in the day I berated those who supported the killing of unborn children for their “campaign for healthy families” name.

    Now I guess I will have to berate this “committee for regulated lending” for the fact that these two guys have opposed 100% of the payday title lending reform bills that have come to the legislature in the last decade.

    Thanks for the support on this blog for capping the rate and our signature drive which will launch end of May early June. We have a broad-based coalition and advisory board and little bit of money in the bank. We will need all of your help. The initiated measure language is presently halfway through the review process in the Attorney General’s office.

  2. Timothy L Fountain 2015-04-23 18:32

    South Dakotans pride themselves on throwing out of office even effective Congresspeople who become “too out of touch and too much part of the DC establishment.” But the folks here don’t so easily detect “coalitions” that are simply funnels for out of state special interests, as Steve Hickey points out in his comment.

    This “Committee for Regulated Lending” is really “national profiteers from unchecked interest and penalties.”

    Hope the folks of SD will see through this.

  3. Jana 2015-04-23 20:19

    I’m guessing, or at least hoping that Koenecke and Abraham feel icky when they take money from these guys.

    How bad would that be to go home to your kids and when they ask you what you did today you have to say “Well I broke God’s law on usury and fought for the right for unscrupulous businesses to bankrupt those most in need…how was your day at school…punch any nerds in the head?”

    Just guessing that they are being paid very well off of the ill gotten profits of the usurers.

  4. scott 2015-04-23 20:58

    will chuck brennan shut down husets if this passes?

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-23 23:39

    Good luck on this one Hickey.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-24 06:03

    Steve, I share your disgust at these deliberately deceptive committee names. I look forward to your petitions hitting the streets! I’ll try to get my referendum petitions done and out of your way before you go big… but hey! if we’re circulating at the same time, maybe we should have a big multi-petition signing festival, maybe all go in together on renting a Big Tent of Democracy at RibFest where interested citizens can sign every available petition in a couple of minutes.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-24 06:03

    Scott: ha! Let’s find out!

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-24 06:05

    And Tim, good to hear from you! I’m pretty sure South Dakotans can see through the fake name; the bigger question will be whether they can see through the big money those guys will throw into their ads. Consumer Lending Alliance and Chuck Brennan might fill the airwaves and billboards and mailboxes with so much propaganda that we might need you to get back into blogging to help with the fact-checking. :-)

  9. Paul Seamans 2015-04-24 08:08

    Jana, the fact that Brett Koenecke is a lawyer/ lobbyist for this group comes as no surprise. He performed the same services for TransCanada and is now working with the Dakota Access pipeline people, Energy Transfer Partners.

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