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Steelman Picks Payday Industry Bagman to be Press Secretary
(Jefferson City, MO) -- Progress Missouri today called on U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman to tell Missouri voters how she will vote on the payday lending reform measure that will appear on the November ballot, and clarify the role of her new campaign press secretary in moving payday industry money through a non-profit corporation into a pro-payday lending front group, Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity (MECO).
PoliticMO reported Friday that Patrick Tuohey has joined the Steelman campaign as an official press secretary. Tuohey is the creator and a director of Missourians for Responsible Government (MRG), a non-profit corporation that has moved more than $2,130,000 in funds from undisclosed donors to the MECO front group. The most recent movement of $181,500 in pro-payday funds was reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission today.
MECO’s campaign on behalf of predatory lenders has been defined by aggressive, shameless dishonesty -- from threatening churches to intimidating voters and misleading commercials. To make matters worse, The Kansas City Star reported this spring that Missourians for Responsible Government was ignoring federal tax laws as it worked to protect predatory lenders’ four hundred percent interest rates in Missouri. The payday industry’s dishonest and cynical campaign has been condemned by leaders from across the political spectrum including Auditor Tom Schweich. It is time for Sarah Steelman to do the same.
A diverse, bipartisan coalition of community, faith, student and labor leaders has come together this year to cap the rate on predatory loans through an initiative petition, submitting 180,000 signatures to the Secretary of State to quality the measure for the November 2012 ballot.
With the hiring of a key player in the payday industry’s efforts to protect Missouri’s worst-in-the-nation laws, Steelman needs to make two things clear to Missourians: