PI Original Mose Buchele Thursday July 31st, 2008, 5:03pm

Illinois Pols Receive More From Payday Lenders Than Any Other State (UPDATED)

Since 1999 the payday loan industry has flooded state lawmakers with
campaign contributions in an attempt to fend off efforts to reform
predatory lending laws. No state politicians have benefited more from
this windfall than those in Illinois, according to a
new ...

Since 1999 the payday loan industry has flooded state lawmakers with campaign contributions in an attempt to fend off efforts to reform predatory lending laws. No state politicians have benefited more from this windfall than those in Illinois, according to a new report (PDF) from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The figures below illustrate how, during the four previous election cycles, Illinois lawmakers made nearly twice as much in contributions as lawmakers from Florida, the second largest recipient state:

Top Five Recipient States of Payday Industry Contributions, 1999-2006

Illinois: $2,521,510
Florida: $1,320,650
Georgia: $1,193,904
California: $1,152,323
Texas: $715,982

Part of the reason Illinois lawmakers are being targeted is because there are serious efforts in Springfield to reform the industry. Payday loan companies make money by trapping the economically disadvantaged in a cycle of debt through exorbitant interest rates and, in some cases, strong-arm collection tactics. As the report notes, Prairie State legislators have attempted numerous times to create broad safeguards for borrowers, but so far have been ineffective.

Nationwide, Republican state legislators received slightly more from the industry than Democrats. All party committees received more than $2.9 million in contributions since 2000, with "Republican Party committees receiving almost twice as much as Democratic Party committees." Here in Illinois, the most recent legislative effort to close a payday loan loophole was shelved until the fall, although the state's consumer protection agency is now cracking down on car title loans.

UPDATE: We've compiled a list of the top 20 recipients of predatory lending contributions in Illinois between 1999 and 2006. 

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