Payday Lenders Using Crime Victims as Bait for Fake 18% Rate Cap?

The crime victims’ bill of rights, sweetly branded “Marsy’s Law” by its out-of-state backers, may be worse than merely questionable policy. It may be cover for the fake 18% rate cap petition.

Matt Hildreth took a photo of this petition circulator outside of the Brookings Post Office early this afternoon:

Man circulating petitions for crime victim's bill of rights and fake 18% rate cap ballot measures, downtown Brookings, South Dakota, 2015.09.15. Photo by Matt Hildreth.
Man circulating petitions for crime victim’s bill of rights and fake 18% rate cap ballot measures, downtown Brookings, South Dakota, 2015.09.15. Photo by Matt Hildreth.

Notice that the circulator’s purple t-shirt appears to be the same purple t-shirt sported by Marsy’s Law circulators at the State Fair:

Victims bill of rights circulators, State Fair, Huron, South Dakota, 2015.09.07. Photo from Marsy's Law for South Dakota Facebook page.
Victims bill of rights circulators, State Fair, Huron, South Dakota, 2015.09.07. Photo from Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Facebook page.

Hildreth describes the Brookings circulator’s tactics:

I was just approached by this guy outside the post office in Brookings. He has a bait and switch strategy to get people to sign the decoy pay day lending petition.

He’s asking for signatures on two petitions . The first one is for victims of abuse to be notified when their assailant is released from prison but he quickly pivots to the decoy petition for caping payday loads at 18%.

These pay day lenders are shady! Unethical business practices like this are why they need to get out town.

Seriously, who uses victims of abuse to con people for monetary gain? [Matt Hildreth, Facebook post, 2015.09.15]

One commenter under Hildreth’s post says he saw this same circulator in Sioux Falls last night. The same source says this circulator said he is from Los Angeles. If that is true, and if the circulator has not established formal residency in South Dakota, any petition sheets he circulates are invalid under SDCL 12-1-3, which requires that petition circulators be residents of South Dakota.

Other commenters indicate the Marsy/fake-18-percenters may have been circulating on the SDSU campus, outside the Brookings Hy-Vee, and at Sam’s Club in Rapid City, all places where petitioners must obtain permission to circulate.

Other sources have spoken with Marsy/fake-18-percenters and heard the names of three different out-of-state petition companies carrying this deceptive tandem of petitions. Companies I’ve heard named include National Ballot Access of Georgia, which circulated the shady and doomed South Dakota Clean and Open Government Act for the 2008 ballot, circulated some of Ward Connerly’s deceptive anti-affirmative action petitions, and caught heck for shoddy signature gathering.

An alert reader found a Craigslist ad posted by Encore Political Services of Portland, Oregon, seeking petition circulators for Marsy’s Law and the fake 18% rate cap:

Drivers/Petitioners to Help Cap Payday Loans Needed (10 positions) (Rapid City)
compensation: $15/hr + production bonus incentives
employment type: employee’s choice

Encore Political Services, LLC is looking for 10 motivated workers to help get signatures for two ballot initiatives from South Dakota voters.

One initiative is to cap Payday Lending loans at 18% maximum.
The other is Marsy’s law, which requires victims to be notified when offenders of those same victims are released from prison.

Pay starts at $15/hr, and bonus incentives are provided.

Interviews start Weds, 9/2/15, at 10:00am. This is a time sensitive job, as our deadline for signatures is November 9th. Work same day as interview is available.
Experience preferred, but not necessary.

Please call or text Hiram at (605) 545-2304 [ad spotted on Craigslist 2015.09.03, as reported by DFP commenter WR Old Guy, 2015.09.04].

A check of Craigslist this evening finds six ads posted today seeking petitioners in Pierre and the surrounding area. None refer to specific petitions, but all direct calls to Ron at 262-883-5075, a New Berlin, Wisconsin, number. Another pair of ads appeared last week seeking circulators in the Sioux Falls area and directing callers to 310-483-2750, a Torrance, California, number.

The association of the Marsy’s Law petition with the fake 18% rate cap petition calls into question the intent and integrity of the Marsy’s Law petition, its circulators, and its sponsor, SDGOP operative Jason Glodt. A circulator like the purple-shirter in Brookings who tries to establish false ethos with a plea for “victims’ rights” only to trick people into signing a fake 18% rate cap deserves neither our trust nor our signatures. A ballot question committee that allows its measure to be intermingled with something as nefarious as the fake 18% rate cap should be viewed with suspicion, if not denied a place on the ballot.

If you see anyone circulating a petition, you should ask right away, “Are you carrying the 18% rate cap petition?” If the answer is yes, you should refuse to sign any document that petitioner is carrying.

But before walking away, do get a name and take pictures. We should all know what deceitful circulators are in our midst so we can avoid them and prevent them from tricking others into abusing our ballot with their lies.


19 Responses to Payday Lenders Using Crime Victims as Bait for Fake 18% Rate Cap?

  1. Deb Geelsdottir

    Great catch by you, Cory, and by Matt Hildreth. There is no low too low for the greedy bas×××ds. How does the average South Dakotan feel about being played for a fool by out of staters? Apparently they think y’all are country simpletons.

  2. Jason Sebern

    Thank you Matt Hildreth! Keep up the good work for the good people of South Dakota!

  3. Two guys had both of these petitions and they were trying to get people to sign inside the beer tent at germanfest last weekend.

  4. In-state, out-of-state, anyone who plays this bait-and-switch game should be scorned and shunned.

  5. Steve Hickey

    And take pics, recordings, names.

  6. barry freed

    A quick search shows Bader and Ass. ran at least one other signature competition in California. A Google search shows B.& A. don’t exist there anymore: http://www.baderandassociates.com/

  7. In front of the Sioux Falls courthouse last week there were lots of petitions. The female circulator of the real 36% petition, apparently convinced of the need for Marcy’s Law, tried to direct me over to the people circulating Marsy’s law (who also had the fake 18% petition). When I declined to sign either of those, the circulator – who may or may not have been this guy in the picture – tried to make me feel guilty. “Don’t you think rape victims should be notified when their rapist gets out of prison?” The circulator of the real 36% petition looked disappointed that I wouldn’t sign Marsy’s Law.

  8. solemn in SF

    CALL JOHN @ 904 349 0918 FOR DETAILS

    This is the contact for a craigslist ad I replied to in regards to circulating some petitions. John said the 2 petitions they are circulating are the independent redistricting and open primary ones, so I joined the team. I had considered signing up and then sabotaging the 18% cap by explaining it accurately and discouraging people from signing but alas, John was (is) not in cahoots with the 18%ers.

  9. If John is legit, then more power to him, and to you for circulating!

  10. Getting names, pics, and recordings as Rev. Hickey suggests is important in case the fake 18-percenters submit a petition with enough signatures to qualify: a petition challenge may depend on being able to identify specific circulators at specific times and establish that they were not South Dakota residents or that they were violating other rules to obtain signatures. For instance, an out-of-state operative may do that actual circulating, then pay some South Dakota resident to sign as the circulator. That’s fraud, and that should disqualify any such sheet.

  11. C Brechtelsbauer

    Maybe this would be helpful:
    Petitions have a line for the circulator’s name and address. Introducing your friendly self, ask to see it and welcome the circulator to SD. This might be enough to get into a conversation and learn a lot. You might learn where some out-of-staters are being housed. If the page has any any signatures, a circulator should not hesitate to fill in his/her name and address. Take a photo with this line in it. If he/she won’t fill it in, a video of him/her saying why could reveal a lot. (Of course, the circulator’s signature line should stay blank, for signing later with a notary.)
    Also, if a circulator is not offering the Attorney General’s explanation or is making false statements, try to get video of that.

  12. CB, I disagree with that circulator’s-line tactic. If someone asks to look at the circulator line on a petition sheet on which I am still taking signatures, they will find that line blank. The instructions on every initiative and referendum petition, per SDAR 05:02:08:00.03, read, “INSTRUCTIONS TO CIRCULATOR: This section (bold) must (unbold) be completed following circulation and before filing.” That line tells me I don’t write my name at the bottom of the petition, neither the printed form nor the signature that the notary must witness, until I have finished circulating that sheet; i.e., once I write my name on that line, I take no more signatures on that sheet. By my read of that instruction, I should not only hesitate but refuse to to fill in my name and address until I have taken the last signature I intend to take on that sheet.

    I agree completely with asking for the AG’s explanation, listening for false statements, and getting those circulator encounters on video. YouTube those videos, and I’ll post ’em!

  13. bearcreekbat

    Some guys approached me in Rapid City last weekend with the 18% petition and the victim’s rights petition. Thanks to Cory’s prior exposure of the 18% scam I declined to sign either petition.

  14. C Brechtelsbauer

    To clarify:
    I can understand that interpretation of the instruction, but actually the name-and-address line may be filled in earlier. I checked with someone at the Sec’y of State’s office, and he wishes people would fill it in earlier. He is going to suggest a revision to the petitions, something to the effect that the circulator’s name and address should be filled in once the petition has any signatures. This can help prevent some hanky panky that might go on, such as helping keep a person from passing an unfinished petition to someone else to finish.

  15. BCB! Thanks for paying attention! Now get your 100,000 Black Hills neighbors to do the same! :-)

  16. CB, I can see the logic of that suggested revision, but it seems (a) hard to enforce and (b) hinky in the workflow of petitioning. Maybe the requirement should be that the circulator write his/her name at the top before taking any signature. Then everyone signing can see the name of the circulator at the top of the sheet.

    I am cautious to advocate major revisions in the rules on the basis of monkeyshines by the fake-18-percenters. Some sort of legislative backlash could be part of what the payday lenders intend to provoke and which the SDGOP would be happy to carry in order to raise more barriers to the initiative and referendum.

    When you checked, CB, did the person in the SOS office say whether they would agree with my interpretation of the instructions?

  17. C Brechtelsbauer

    The man at the Sec’y of State’s office said it is the circulator’s signature and the other part below the oath that must be filled in as you are ready to turn in the petition. He agreed with my interpretation that people may fill in the name-and-address line any time, and he wishes people would as soon as they start gathering signatures.
    As you suggest, I think moving the name-and-address line to the top is a good idea. I hope he can make this change in the format before the next election cycle. This would not require any change in the rules, although a new rule could require it to be filled in first.

  18. Agreed, CB. Right now, as written, the name and address come beneath the instruction in question, which tells me technically I have to wait. Moving just that instruction, not to mention the name and address line, would make the workflow clearer.