She smiles about it.
Lisa Furlong crawls out of her undisclosed, media-proof hole in North Sioux City and submits a lie to the Secretary of State. She ignores the call of her Christian conscience and hands over 60,000 signatures gathered by liars and thugs and exploited dupes. And she smiles as she does it.
Pat Powers, a fellow exploiter of the poor in his work as a bailbondsman for Furlong’s neighbor Dan Lederman, smiles, too, calling the petition incredible and honking over the fact that Furlong’s mercenary circulators gathered three times as many signatures as the honest, grassroots 36% rate cap petition.
The difference in the signature tally is simple: people like me who circulated the 36% rate cap petition didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars from the payday lending industry or the lack of conscience necessary to pay people $25 an hour to lie to our neighbors. We didn’t shout at people who didn’t want to sign that they must not care about domestic abuse or raped children (seriously: the fake 18-percenter outside the Brown County Courthouse on October 29 said the latter to me). We didn’t hire gangs to surround our opponents and scare voters away from signing. We didn’t tell lies about the opposing petition or stage sit-ins at payday lending stores.
We just told the truth: the 36% rate cap is a real rate cap. It says short-term lenders can’t charge interest and fees that add up to more than a 36% annual rate. Period. The 18% rate cap is a fake… actually, a double fake. Fake #1 is the loophole that says all loans are capped at 18% “unless the borrower agrees to another rate in writing,” meaning that this provision changes nothing about the status quo in which every commercial loan involves a piece of paper that the borrower signs. Fake #2 is the clause that bans any other statutory rate cap on short-term loans, meaning that this cap takes away our right to regulate the specific abuses of these predatory lenders.
Lisa Furlong is smiling about a lie that she has placed on the ballot for the poverty. We can only grit our teeth at her shameless sin and prepare to educate voters over the next 368 days with one simple slogan: Yes on 36, No on 18 (or, if you want synergy with other ballot measures, 18-19–20 No!)