North Carolina Republican Rep. Ted Budd opposed protecting consumers from predatory lending, despite his own state banning the practice.
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd has always sided with predatory lenders and the payday loan industry, even though payday loans are banned in his state. The industry rewarded him with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Budd, who is currently serving her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running against former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) in November for the Republican senator’s open seat in retired Richard Burr. He calls himself a “liberal agenda crusher” who “will work for ordinary families, not the elite or political insiders.”
But Budd’s file indicates otherwise. He has consistently supported lenders who prey on low-income people using abusive repayment terms and exploitative tactics, practices that have been illegal in North Carolina for more than 20 years.
Many financial services companies offer payday loans or “cash advances,” short-term loans with a high interest rate based on expected income on the borrower’s next payday.
North Carolina is among the states that have cracked down on these practices. According to its Department of Justice, “North Carolina has some of the strongest laws against unfair lending in the nation and was the first state to pass a comprehensive law against predatory home lending.”
The state has banned payday loans since 2001. After state authorities closed a loophole in 2006, payday loan stores stopped operating in the state altogether.
Republicans in Washington, DC, lobbied to roll back those regulations and other states, at the behest of the lending industry. A rule enacted in late 2020 by then-President Donald Trump’s administration allowed lenders to partner with banks in other states to avoid state-imposed restrictions.
Democratic majorities in the House and Senate overturned the Trump administration’s rule in 2021. Budd and nearly every other Republican voted to keep it in place.
In March 2018, Budd signed on as a co-sponsor of an effort to repeal a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule cracking down on paydays, car titles and other high-cost loans.
In July 2020 and again in February 2021, Budd introduced a “Freedom to Regulate Act” that would have placed limits on the actions of independent agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
His spokesperson told the right-wing Epoch Times after the initial bill was introduced that the effort was “focused on some of the most important and economically influential regulations that independent agencies have implemented. , such as the CFPB’s 2017 payday loan rule, the FCC’s net neutrality rule, the NLRB’s co-employer rule.
As Budd repeatedly sided with the payday lenders, payday lenders repeatedly filled his campaign coffers.
He received at least $2,500 from the Community Financial Services Association of America PAC, the political arm of the payday loan industry’s trade association. A spokesperson for the group did not immediately respond to a request for donation information.
Budd’s June 2022 campaign finance report noted thousands of dollars in PAC contributions from payday loan companies.
Some of the industry donations he received came days after a key vote.
On May 4, 2017, Budd voted to move the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 out of the House Financial Services Committee. The package, which was primarily aimed at rolling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, included a section determining that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “cannot exercise any regulatory authority , performance or otherwise with respect to payday loans, vehicle title loans or other similar loans.”
“They’re trying to squeeze their way into this provision,” Diane Standaert, then executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. “It seems like they were hoping no one would notice.”
Several financial company executives donated to Budd that month, including at least one payday lender.
On May 31, he received $1,000 from Scott Wisniewski, the CEO of Western Shamrock Corporation, which offers payday loans and was called a “predatory lender” by advocacy group Texans for Public Justice.
A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic candidate Beasley, who supports her state’s ban, told the American Independent Foundation in an emailed statement, “Payday lenders have long taken advantage of hard-working Americans, and it is unacceptable that Washington politicians like Ted Budd have chosen to campaign for contributions instead of holding them accountable.In the Senate, I will always advocate for corporate vested interests to protect the people of North Carolina from predatory lenders.
Budd has a habit of siding with his donors rather than his North Carolina constituents.
He accepted contributions from pharmaceutical interests days after voting against a bill to cut prescription drug prices in 2019 and took money from the oil and gas sector a day before voting not to prohibit price gouging by industry.
Spokespersons for Budd did not respond to a request for this story.
Published with permission of the American Independent Foundation.