President Obama urged reforms in the payday and title loan lending industries Thursday during a speech in Birmingham, Ala. Twenty-two states have already regulated the industries. But in Alabama the industry has protected itself from state-level reforms by dumping loads of cash into the campaign accounts of Alabama lawmakers, reports AL.com. And those campaign donations have been targeted strategically to key leaders in the legislature and to members of important committees where reform proposals have died in recent years.
In the Alabama Senate, banking committee members collectively received more than $116,000 in the last election cycle from the lending industry. Every member got something, although some got more than others. State Sen. Slade Blackwell, who chairs that committee, received more than $25,000. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh got $43,000 during the last cycle. In the Alabama House, the industry spread more than $59,000 among the Financial Services Committee members and gave $37,835 to Speaker Mike Hubbard during the last two years. All together, lenders gave more than $475,000 to lawmakers during the last election season.