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A Smile and a Lie: Furlong Submits 60K Signatures for Fake 18% Rate Cap

She smiles about it.

Lisa Furlong submits fake 18% rate cap petition, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.11.05. Photo by Secretary of State's Office.
Lisa Furlong submits fake 18% rate cap petition, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.11.05. Photo by Secretary of State’s Office.

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, 18-1920 No!)

26 Comments

  1. Lynn 2015-11-06 07:54

    Where are the fake/flawed medical marijuana folks in the photo which helped with this? Maybe it’s hush hush. Ah the poverty industry…….

  2. 96Tears 2015-11-06 08:04

    That PP embraces and protects the slimy underbelly of the loan shark industry comes as no surprise. If there’s a buck to be made, he and hundreds of other SDGOP stalwarts will have their hands out. It’s who and what they are.

    I think the power of cash over conscience is exemplified by the efforts to get these two measures on the ballot. You can pretty much assume it’s going to get a lot more rotten very soon, starting with loan shark pandering legislation in January.

    Al Swearingen’s vision for this state is coming to fruition.

  3. jerry 2015-11-06 08:04

    I say good deal on all of this. This means that 80,000 people participated in this as a whole. Which means absolutely bupkis come November of next year. It means that grassroots folks need to work harder to get the word out on what a sham this is. Women need to take note of this, in all seriousness, as an attack on them as they are the ones that suffer the most. Where is Carrie Nation when you need her?

  4. PlanningStudent 2015-11-06 08:16

    Maybe a change in articulation is needed. Why even mention 18% knowing it is fake..? Just called it constitutionally protected servitude / unlimited usury.. You play their game when you mention their supposed lower rate.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-06 08:49

    A reasonable point, PS! I’m all for calling it what it is. However, if we don’t say the number, will people know which one we’re talking about? I guess once it is approved, it should be called Amendment U (based on order of submission: R = legislative proposal on BOR/vo-tech authority; S = Glodt amendment; T = redistricting), so perhaps we can focus on that name so people know what to look for on the ballot. U is for Ugly; U is for Unwanted… oh! U is for Usury!

  6. mike from iowa 2015-11-06 09:10

    In a morning Tweet, Abbott said: “HOUSTON: Vote Texas values, not @HillaryClinton values. Vote NO on City of Houston Proposition 1. No men in women’s bathrooms.”

    A-Butt neatly characterized this- http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_Houston_Anti-Discrimination_HERO_Veto_Referendum,_Proposition_1_(November_2015)

    as allowing men into women’s restrooms. Lies by omission and commission. It is the wingnut way. The equal rights ordinance was roundly defeated. I wonder why?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-06 09:23

    Jerry, I can’t make the same lemonade from these lemons. The vast majority of those 60K signers didn’t really participate; they were tricked or bullied into signing by paid circulators using marketing and manipulation tactics.

  8. MD 2015-11-06 09:27

    Did anyone else hear Better Have My Money by Rihanna when you were looking at Lisa’s picture?

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-06 09:37

    MD, the payday lenders at least had to pay her mileage and supper at Burger King to trundle out to Pierre with those papers.

  10. Rorschach 2015-11-06 09:41

    Home of the Whopper! That’s where she gets her campaign talking points, but she’s surely eating steak on her payday lender paycheck.

  11. mike from iowa 2015-11-06 09:44

    All you fellows who have someone
    And you really care, yeah, yeah
    Then it’s all of you fellows
    Who better beware, yeah yeah
    Somebody’s out to get your lady
    A few of your buddies they sure look shady
    Blades are long, clenched tight in their fist
    Aimin’ straight at your back
    And I don’t think they’ll miss

    (What they do)
    (They smile in your face)
    All the time they want to take your place
    The back stabbers (back stabbers)

    The Backstabbers by the O’Jays

  12. PlanningStudent 2015-11-06 09:57

    Ohh man, if you’re right and it becomes Amendment U it will be perfect..! Amendment U(sury)

  13. Donald 2015-11-06 10:21

    I could understand if the payday loan industry campaigned hard against the legit 36% cap, but this 18% thing takes it down to a whole new level. They’re counting on uneducated voters seeing both measures on the ballot, thinking “18 is half of 36, therefore a better rate for the consumer. I will vote for that one”. Never mind the fine print. I’ve never seen anything this deceptive and insulting in all of the years I’ve been voting.

    Maybe death penalty opponents should circulate a petition:
    “ALL executions shall be performed by firing squad” and then in the fine print “unless the prisoner opts out for religious reasons”

    What happens if this law passes, and a customer refuses to opt-out? “I saw 18% advertised and that is what I demand”.

  14. MD 2015-11-06 12:25

    Don’t forget, Chuck Brennan is going to have an impending flop of a pawn shop that he is going to have to pay for. He needs to continue his ways.

  15. moses 2015-11-06 14:25

    Porter where are you on this.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-06 16:24

    Donald, I asked two of the fake circulators who were willing to talk to me that exact question. One simply said, “That’s their choice.” The other tried to spin some wild tale that an oral agreement had to precede the written agreement and that the oral agreement would thus bind the written agreement.

    The proposal speaks for itself: nothing will change in the practices of the payday lenders. They won’t mention the constitutional amendment. If we are stupid enough to pass it, they are counting on a month or so of attention, then amnesia, and everything goes on as before.

    On the good side, Donald (and President Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL has me feeling optimistic), the Attorney General may have done us a favor. If the AG explanations on the ballot read “Cap rates at 36%” and “Cap rates at 18%”, the good guys would be hosed. But look at the descriptions that will appear at the top of each measure on the ballot. First the titles:

    • 36%: “An initiated measure to set a maximum finance charge for certain licensed money lenders.”
    • 18%: “An initiated amendment to the South Dakota Constitution limiting the ability to set statutory interest rates for loans.”

     
    Neither tells the percentage, but on first glance, I’d say the former is clearer than the latter. Slight advantage for IM21/36%.

    Now the explanations, which will be on the ballot, per SDCL 12-13-11:

    • 36%: “The initiated measure prohibits certain State-licensed money lenders from making a loan that imposes total interest, fees and charges at an annual percentage rate greater than 36%. The measure also prohibits these money lenders from evading this rate limitation by indirect means. A violation of this measure is a misdemeanor crime. In addition, a loan made in violation of this measure is void, and any principal, fee, interest, or charge is uncollectable.

      The measure’s prohibitions apply to all money lenders licensed under South Dakota Codified Laws chapter 54-4. These licensed lenders make commercial and personal loans, including installment, automobile, short-term consumer, payday, and title loans. The measure does not apply to state and national banks, bank holding companies, other federally insured financial institutions, and state chartered trust companies. The measure also does not apply to businesses that provide financing for goods and services they sell.”

    • 18%: “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.”

     
    IM21/36% gets a first sentence that says “36%.” Amendment U/18% doesn’t get its number in the first sentence. Instead, we get “there is no limit on the amount of interest….” The 18% is pushed back to the second sentence, behind a qualifier that everyone I’ve spoken to understands immediately: “If there is no written agreement….”

    We still have to educate and sloganize the heck out of everybody. But even among the uneducated who encounter these measures for the first time when they look at the ballots, the language and word order used seem to give us a slight advantage.

  17. bearcreekbat 2015-11-06 17:30

    I did not anticipate saying this, but good for AG Jackley with that explanation!

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-07 12:05

    Yeah, but won’t a written contract always win over an oral contract in court? And as for mechanics, the scenario the gal spun in the Kessler’s parking lot was sheer fantasy: no payday lender will even offer an oral agreement. They’ll say, “Let’s look at the documents.”

  19. Rorschach 2015-11-07 12:23

    There is nothing in the fake 18% petition nor in the law that would require a payday lender to make a loan to someone on oral agreement rather than written. Nor is there anything in the fake 18% petition or the law that would require a lender to loan money at 18% if a customer says that’s all they’re willing to pay. No payday lender is ever going to offer an oral contract on a loan, and the fake petition does not force payday lenders to loan money at 18%. That “cap” is completely illusory for customers as the payday lender will be able to put whatever rate it wants in its contract and say, “take it or leave it.”

  20. Brother Beaker 2015-11-09 08:35

    CH,

    The comment about victims likely arose from Marsy’s Law (which is a constitutional amendment and not a law), which frequently seemed to be working with the 18% amendment.

  21. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-11-12 15:15

    Thanks for pointing this out to me, Cory. I don’t know how I missed your post last week. THere is an interesting tidbit in the AG’s explanation on 18%. “If an interest rate for loans is established by law, it must apply to every type of lender.”

    Could that little tidbit get the credit card companies involved against it? In certain situations, they may charge more than 18% and those situations don’t require a signature.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-12 16:16

    I’m not sure the credit card companies would invest in fighting this amendment based on that provision. They would oppose a real rate cap that touched their business. Do they care if this amendment thus insulates payday lenders from rate caps?

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