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Pawnshops Heart Gutierrez

Following up on our piece this month about how payday lenders have found a friend in Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) — who’s pushing legislation that caps interest rates on those loans at nearly 400 percent — it comes as little surprise that the pawnshop industry, among the largest sub-sets of short-term lenders, has been kind to Gutierrez this year when it comes to political contributions.

Of the 21 individuals who donated more than $21,000 to the Illinois Democrat in the first quarter of this year, 15 represent the pawnshop industry, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Total donations from those 15 donors was $10,500.

That’s not a ton of cash, all things considered, but it is symbolic of Washington’s scratch-your-back mentality, in which industries dump thousands of dollars into the coffers of lawmakers who are in positions to help those businesses legislatively. (Gutierrez is chairman of the House Financial Services subpanel on consumer credit.)

Indeed, the political action committee for the National Pawnbrokers Association, which dropped a cool $1,000 on Gutierrez this year, didn’t give him a dime in years past when he supported efforts to eliminate payday lenders altogether.

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