Friday, September 12, 2008

Payday Loan Charge More Than a Technicaltity

From Blue Bexley, 08/13/2008:

Given that OPC's website exclaims in bold that "We pay by the hour, not by the signature," either Hagan is wrong, OPC is lying, or someone other than OPC is paying circulators. That last seemed the most likely, so I pursued it first. At least one source told me that Arno Political Consultants had been brought in by the lenders to collect signatures along with OPC.

So, is it all the fault of Arno and a pay-per-signature compensation model come back to make a mockery of the process? That's really unclear.


So, I don't doubt that some circulators are lying to get signatures. I've heard the audio. I'd like for it to stop, but until I can figure out who's actually collecting signatures, who's paying them, how they're paying them, and which of them are consistently lying, it's difficult to figure out who's to blame.

From Blue Bexley, 08/21/2008:

Every entity collecting signatures for the referendum effort is required by law to file a 'Form 15' with the Secretary of State. Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle tried to get the SOS to tell her who had filed the forms, and was given a pretty silly runaround. I can sympathize.

From Openers, 09/12/2008:

Anyone supervising the collection of signatures must file a Form 15, which asks for the circulators' names and addresses and the names of their employers before they can start collecting signatures.

The secretary's office said it cannot find any evidence that a Form 15 was filed by Arno Political Consultants, a California firm hired by the lenders to collect many of its signatures.

"One of the penalties if you don't file the Form 15 is a misdemeanor, but separately, you could get thrown entirely off the ballot," said Sandy Theis, spokeswoman for the Vote Yes on Issue 5 Committee. The group had filed a public records request asking to see the form.

The group asked Brunner "to throw them off the ballot, and if you can't do that, then at least throw out the signatures collected by this group," Theis said.
We know that some petition circulators were giving voters misleading information in order to convince them to sign. In order to determine the source of the problem, it is necessary to know who was actually supervising and training those circulators. The failure by Arno to file a Form 15 acted to obstruct legitimate inquiries into election irregularities. Any notion that Arno, a company that has conducted a number of signature gathering campaigns in Ohio, simply was unaware of the requirement or just forgot to turn in the form would strain credulity.

Several months ago I wrote that the most important story that would come out of this petition process wasn't going to be about the Payday Lending Bill itself (I'm pretty confident that Issue 5 will pass if it stays on the ballot), but the success or failure of new signature collection methods applied in a compressed time period. It's now obvious that the Lenders did not have confidence that they could make the ballot without resorting to questionable methods that have led to hundreds of thousands of rejected signatures in the past. The allegation, if true, that this decision was illegally hidden from the public and state is a serious cause for complaint.

See Also GCJ, where Lisa Renee continues to out-hustle me on this story :)


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Bobby said...

It's really not surprising at this point that the payday lenders are failing to comply with state election law. There were no doubt plenty of petition circulators lying to voters and I think any person looking at their advertisements objectively would see them as misleading. The payday lobby is doing their best to continue bilking Ohio consumers with 391% interest. Hopefully a good portion of these signatures will be thrown out. We can't allow the precedent to be set for outside special interests to come into Ohio and hijack our electoral process. If this somehow gets to the ballot, vote yes on issue 5 to truly reform the industry and lower interest rates!