Congressman Alcee Hastings implicated in alleged bribery scheme benefiting payday lenders

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings and 11 Congressmen are under investigation for their involvement with payday lenders.

Hastings allegedly took campaign contributions from lobbyists shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry.

The Florida Bulldog reports that the Campaign for Accountability requested the probe. The Campaign for Accountability also sent a detailed 17-page letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this week.

Hastings and his colleagues are accused of sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation to impair the ability of the CFPB. The Payday lending industry has been at war with the CFPB since it’s creation. The payday lending industry wants to limit the CFPB’s role in regulating the payday lending industry.

Hastings also sponsored bills that would eliminate consumer protections against certain payday lending practices.

Eight of the eleven members named in the request sit on the House Financial Services Committee. The Financial Services Committee oversees the financial services industry.

Florida Bulldog Publisher Talks About Hastings Connections With Payday Lenders

Dan Christensen from the Florida Bulldog broke this story earlier today. He also had this to say about Representative Hastings:

Here’s what Hastings, a 23-year House member whose district includes much of Broward and parts of Palm Beach and Hendry counties, is accused of in the letter:

  • May 21, 2013. Hastings co-sponsored HR 1566, legislation that Allied Progress said would “undermine oversight of payday lenders by allowing them to bypass the regulatory authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and stronger state laws.” On March 27, 2013, he received a $2,500 campaign contribution from payday lending executive Ian MacKechnie of Amscot Financial. MacKechnie contributed another $500 to Hasting’s campaign on June 28, following Hasting’s support for HR 1566. In all, Hastings and five other congressmen who supported the measure, or similar legislation, received a total of more than $72,000 in contributions from industry executives or PACs, the letter says.
  • July 10, 2014. Hastings co-sponsored HR 4986, a bill aimed at ending Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice initiative investigating banks and their connections to payday lenders, payment processors and others at higher risk for fraud and money laundering. Three weeks earlier, Hastings accepted a $2,500 contribution from Cash America International Inc. PAC, a payday lending industry PAC. Industry PACs sent another $26,000 to the campaigns of four other congressmen.

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