Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) gained infamy in May when he went on a childish tirade against Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is currently setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a special adviser to President Obama. McHenry, a former College Republican hack, repeatedly accused Warren of lying about the agreed-upon time for testimony she gave before Congress.
According to a ThinkProgress analysis of new campaign finance data released on Friday, McHenry received $63,800 from lobbyists and executives from banks, mortgage companies, payday lenders, pawn shop executives, and other predatory lenders in the last three months alone. Notably, much of the campaign donations from payday lenders came on a single day, April 20, 2011:
— Advance America PAC: $10,000 on 4/20/11 — Dennis Bassford, CEO of the Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree: $4,600 on 4/20/11 — Sarah Bassford: $2,700 on 4/20/11 — Community Financial Services Association of America PAC (trade association for payday lenders): $5,000 on 4/20/11 — Checksmart Financial LLC PAC, an Ohio-based payday lender: $2,000 on 4/20/11 — A. David Davis, CEO of Ohio-based payday lender Check-n-go: $2,000 on 4/20/11 — Jared Davis, CEO of Ohio-based payday lender Axcess Financial: $2,000 on 4/20/11 — Roger Dean, CFO of Axcess Financial: $500 on 4/20/11 — EZCORP PAC, a Texas-based payday lender: $2,000 on 4/20/11 — Natl Pawnbrokers Assoc. PAC: $2,000 on 4/20/11
The surge of payday lender money to McHenry on a single day suggests the congressman had a campaign party with opponents of Warren. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is tasked with policing and regulating dozens of predatory lending practices. A few weeks after the predatory lending campaign money started flowing to McHenry, he used the hearing with Warren to berate a leading consumer advocate.
According to his latest financial disclosure, the McHenry household receives an income from the Brattle Group, an industry consulting firm that employs McHenry’s wife. The Brattle Group helps connect powerful industry groups with academics to produce reports that can be used during testimony or lobbying campaigns — the same type of firm highlighted by Charles Ferguson’s investigative documentary Inside Job. In conjunction with the Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade association for predatory lenders, the Brattle Group produced a study claiming that payday lending never results in cycles of debt for its customers. According to its website, the Brattle Group also represents banks, credit card companies, and other businesses in the financial industry.
Asked by ThinkProgress if the Brattle Group is working for any of its clients on Dodd-Frank implementation or any issues related to the new Consumer Financial Protection agency, a representative said they would not supply such information.