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Monday, February 05, 2007 

Mike Ross: Fighting For Predatory Payday Lenders

On September 11, 2006, this ArkansasBusiness.com news article reported that Mike Ross had raised over $10,000 from the predatory payday lending industry along with several of his friends (including Mike Beebe and Dustin McDaniel).

In fact the article reports:

"With $36,800 in donations, the Arkansas Democratic Party is the biggest political beneficiary of payday lenders for the 2006 election cycle. Next in line are specific Democratic candidates: Dustin McDaniel, the party’s nominee for attorney general, and incumbent Rep. Mike Ross each received $10,000. Attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Mike Beebe received $4,000."

So we see it as no surprise that the Military Officers Association of America would send out this note to its members highlighting the Congressman's work on behalf of payday lenders:

MOAA is disappointed, to say the least, that Reps. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) and Mike Ross (D-AR) are trying to persuade other House members to backtrack on legislative fixes won last year by MOAA and others to protect the troops against unscrupulous payday lenders.

Payday lenders often target military personnel to lure them into short-term loans of a few hundred dollars at 400% interest, holding the borrower's signed personal check as collateral. When borrowers can't pay off the high-interest loans immediately, they're trapped into renewing them repeatedly. MOAA, The Military Coalition, the Defense Department, and a long list of consumer-protection organizations joined forces last year to win a law change capping interest rates on loans to servicemembers at a 36-percent annual rate. That still sounds high, but it limited their potential profits enough that payday lenders have indicated they'll stop targeting military families unless the law is changed.

Reps. Meek and Ross are trying to get Congress to reconsider the 36%
rate cap. MOAA and other military, civil rights, veteran, and consumer organizations have sent letters to Congress strongly objecting to the Meek/Ross proposal and urging Congress not to sell out the troops to serve this unsavory industry.

With so many of our friends and family fighting for our freedom, why would Ross decide to fight for payday lenders? They have a very clear business policy of targeting our bravest Americans in the Military. We need to make sure we let Mike Ross know that $10,000 of campaign contributions shouldn't make him turn his back on our troops!

Call Mike Ross and let him know this kind of action from a Congressman is wrong for South Arkansas...

U.S. Congressman Mike Ross
Union County Courthouse
Suite 406 101
North Washington Street
El Dorado, AR 71730
(870) 881-0681

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