I should have known better. Rather than finding some legal hammer to drop on Lisa Furlong and her belligerent, lying petitioners for trying to sabotage South Dakota’s initiative process, Attorney General Marty Jackley has handed the payday lenders for whom she’s fronting a summer gift, issuing his explanation of their fake 18%-rate-cap initiative a month ahead of the legal deadline.
I reported the exact language of the Furlong amendment last month. AG Jackley provides this official explanation:
Under this constitutional amendment, there is no limit on the amount of interest a lender may charge for a loan of money if the interest rate is agreed to in writing by the borrower. If there is no written agreement, however, a lender may not charge more than 18% interest per year. A law setting an interest rate for loans is not valid unless the law gives the lender and the borrower the ability to agree to a different rate. If an interest rate for loans is established by law, it must apply to every type of lender.
The amendment eliminates the ability to set statutory interest rates that are inconsistent with this amendment [Attorney General Marty Jackley, official explanation of Lisa Furlong’s fake 18%-rate-cap initiative, 2015.08.10].
Let me elaborate on the AG’s explanation: if passed, this constitutional amendment would annul the genuine 36%-rate-cap initiated law already being petitioned by Steve Hildebrand, Steve Hickey, and South Dakotans for Responsible Lending. Furlong’s amendment would only interest rates on verbal handshake loans. I’m willing to wager that no one walks out of a payday lending shop without signing a piece of paper, which means Furlong’s amendment won’t affect payday lenders’ predatory business practices one bit.
In other words, the payday lenders must know that, given an honest ballot measure, South Dakotans would vote them out of business. The payday lenders thus must resort to beating us at the polls, not by honestly arguing the merits of their business, but by throwing a decoy measure onto the ballot meant to trick us into writing their loan sharking into our state constitution and taking away our ability to pass any further laws to regulate their interest rates.
Dang, that’s devious… exactly the kind of deviousness it takes to profit off poverty and desperation by making payday loans.
Notice that Lisa Furlong lies in her press release on the AG’s explanation, pretending that an 18% rate cap that can be negated with the stroke of any borrower’s pen is “strict”:
People have a right to be treated fairly. By supporting this constitutional amendment, we will bring fairness to the lending process, while protecting the people of South Dakota’s rights as consumers.
Our measure places a strict 18% cap on interest rates, far more stringent than that of other measures being proposed. Additionally, our measure takes the extra step of amending the South Dakota constitution, which will ensure that the cap placed on interest rates is not later removed or weakened. Other measures being circulated simply make changes to statutes, which can be easily altered and undermined.
Our supporters and volunteers are ready to get to work collecting the needed signatures to have this common sense measure placed on the ballot and we appreciate the work of the Attorney General and his staff in issuing the explanation of our measure in a timely manner [Lisa Furlong, press release, reported by Pat Powers, Dakota War College, 2015.08.10].
Fairness, common sense… rarely will you hear words used with such disregard for their meaning. But such is the nature of the payday-lender beast we are fighting.
Honest petitioners, saddle up. Our mission now is educate voters about the big lie Lisa Furlong and her decoy petitioners are telling to undermine out initiative process and thwart the will of South Dakota voters.
p.s.: Notice that Pat Powers leapt to publish Furlong’s deceitful press release and the AG’s explanation, complete with his own deceptive effort to graft onto this fake rate cap the term “informed consent,” akin to ethical medical practice. But Powers irresponsibly said not one word about Furlong’s effort to sabotage legitimate petitioning for the genuine 36% rate cap at the Sioux Empire Fair with her fake petitioners. Powers thus demonstrates that he cares more about protecting his failing ideology and his rich friends and not one whit about defending the integrity of petitions and the electoral process.