Mitch McConnell’s Terribly Awkward, No Good, Really Bad Road Trip

If you’ve been following along here at B&P, you know we’ve long advised that the Kentucky Senate race between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes is strategically tied to the 6th District Congressional race between Andy Barr and Elisabeth Jensen. If Grimes is to win, she will likely need big turnouts in Jefferson County and in Central Kentucky — the 6th District. Conversely, the better Andy Barr does in getting out his base in the 6th, the better the chances Mitch McConnell has to win the entire state.

Well, I’m happy to report that one of the Senate campaigns finally took my advice! Mitch McConnell embarked yesterday on a three day road trip to visit fifteen different counties and he’ll be joined on the journey by 4th District Representative Thomas Massie, 5th District Representative Hal Rogers and 6th District Representative Andy Barr!

Road trips are supposed to be fun — this one is anything but. Here’s why.

  • The Hill reports that the crowds at the events along McConnell’s road trip will be bussed in at the expense of the McConnell campaign. Lacking grassroots supporters, McConnell has chosen to pad his numbers by paying volunteers to show up and provide “enthusiasm.”

CurbYourEnthusiasm

  • If bussing in paid supporters to create a fake sense of “enthusiasm” isn’t awkward enough, Thomas Massie and Mitch McConnell have something of a tepid relationship as is, with the Tea Partier Massie toying with the McConnell campaign in their pre-primary pleas for unity.
  • On top of that, there’s the United Mine Workers of America. In their infinite wisdom, they endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes in the Senate race and were met with the overwhelming derision of the McConnell campaign and McConnell’s few actually enthusiastic supporters. McConnell and his team insulted the UMWA, saying it’s basically not a real organization, that it’s beliefs shouldn’t be taken seriously and that no one particularly cares what they think or who they support. That’d be fine except for the fact that in their infinite wisdom, the UMWA also endorsed Andy Barr. The choice to split the difference could be seen as a tactical choice to help Grimes except that it’s unclear how many voters who would actually care about such things would ever actually be swayed by that tactical decision. It’s an even more troubling, and awkward, choice since the UMWA’s stated goal of protecting mine workers is directly at odds with Andy Barr’s stated goal of not protecting mine workers.

AndyBarrBlackLung

  • To add to this awkwardness, on Sunday the Herald Leader chose to endorse Andy Barr’s opponent in the 6th District, Elisabeth Jensen. The Barr campaign and their supporters have essentially decried this choice as yet further proof of the fact that the media is controlled by far left-wing extremists who are bent on destroying America. Except that on the same day the Herald Leader endorsed Elisabeth Jensen, the paper also endorsed Hal Rogers in the 5th. Unlike the UMWA’s split decision, the Herald Leader’s reasoning is quite clear: Hal Rogers appears to be the only powerful Republican in the state with the guts to talk truthfully about what is happening to the coal economy in Eastern Kentucky. And, frankly, on this subject, Rogers isn’t just at odds with Mitch McConnell and Andy Barr who just dumbly repeat “the War on Coal” as if the EPA were the Islamic State, Rogers is at odds with Alison Lundergan Grimes as well who’s busily wrapped herself in coal dust and mirrors on this issue. While McConnell and Barr will spend the road trip talking deceptively about a war that doesn’t exist while offering no real discussion of what happens next, Hal Rogers will grit his teeth and play along as he secretly pines, for the sake of the people he represents, to have a (surprisingly) adult conversation about the issue with Governor Steve Beshear.
  • And while that awkwardness is bubbling just below the surface, there’s the more obviously awkward fact that Andy Barr and Hal Rogers simply don’t like each other. That may be because in 2010, Andy Barr campaigned on pushing term limits. Setting aside the fact that Mitch McConnell has been in the U.S. Senate for three decades, this awkwardness stems from Barr’s central argument for term limits which focused on Committee Chairmen and, as he says here specifically, Appropriations Committee Chairmen. Hal Rogers has been the House Appropriations Committee Chairman for most of the past two centuries.

Still, for all it’s awkwardness, Mitch McConnell’s terrible road trip is strategically quite smart. Among moderate voters (not to mention liberal ones) who make up 43% of registered voters, McConnell has lower favorability ratings and higher unfavorability ratings than both his opponent, Ms. Grimes, and the guy she may or may not have voted for, Barack Obama. Mitch McConnell needs help and — however awkwardly — Barr, Rogers and Massie are gonna give it.

Awkward3 Awkward2 Awkward1

Eeesh. But I guess it’s like they always say, Make Love Not A War On Coal!

giphy-2

Get Pumped for Tonight’s Barr vs. Jensen Debate by Reviewing Andy Barr’s Latest Wall Street Bankroll!

At 8PM tonight, KET will host a debate between 6th District Congressional candidates Andy Barr and Elisabeth Jensen. The two campaigns are both gathering supporters for pre-debate rallies in the KET parking lot starting at 6PM.

The debate comes one day after the Lexington Herald Leader endorsed Ms. Jensen in the race. There’s little doubt that the Barr campaign will try to spin that as a liberal rag endorsing one of their own but that argument struggles against reality since on the same day they endorsed Elisabeth Jensen, the paper also endorsed Republican incumbent for life Hal Rogers in the 5th.

In their endorsement of Elisabeth Jensen, the Herald Leader cited Andy Barr’s sellout politics. Rather than protecting the voters of the 6th District whom he represent, Barr has chosen to service his big campaign donors:

In the area where Barr has the most clout, as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Jensen is focused on protecting consumers while Barr’s overriding interest is reducing government regulation.

Barr, for example, is trying to block a Justice Department crackdown on the practice of online payday lenders making illegal, unauthorized withdrawals from borrowers’ bank accounts, often causing overdrafts.

Barr had taken in $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests, including payday lenders, as of June 30, helping give his campaign a huge funding advantage.

This will no doubt be a topic of discussion — and Barr’s stance here is not helped by last week’s revelation that Andy Barr is one of the biggest defenders of Predatory Payday Lenders in Washington, DC.

As the Herald Leader noted in their endorsement of Jensen, Garland H. Barr IV has taken $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests as of June. Over the weekend, we took a look the amount Barr has taken from Predatory Payday Lenders and, including his new totals from the most recent reporting period which ended on September 30th, Andy Barr has accepted at least $30,000 from these Predatory Loan Sharks.

But what about Wall Street? Andy Barr’s dalliances with the Too Big To Fail banks and investment firms and hedge funders who nearly destroyed the U.S. economy in 2008 is well documented… but how much more has he taken from them since June?

A quick look at his most recent FEC report reveals an additional $67,000 from the Too Big To Fail Banks, investment firms and Big Insurance companies which Andy Barr oversees from his position on the House Financial Services Committee:

  • $3,500 from the American Financial Services Association
  • $500 from Branch Bank & Trust in Wilmington, NC
  • $2,000 from the Chicago Board Options PAC
  • $3,000 from Citigroup, Inc. PAC
  • $1,000 from Deloitte PAC
  • $2,000 from PNC Financial Services Group
  • $500 from Fifth Third Bancorp PAC
  • $1,000 from FMR LLC PAC (that’s Fidelity Investments)
  • $2,000 from JP Morgan Chase PAC
  • $1,000 from Mastercard PAC
  • $2,000 from MetLife PAC (which is overseen in part by Barr’s Financial Services Committee)
  • $1,000 from Morgan Stanley PAC
  • $2,000 from the Mortgage Bankers PAC
  • $4,000 from New York Life Insurance PAC (which is overseen in part by Barr’s Financial Services Committee)
  • $2,000 from the Oppenheimer Fund PAC
  • $2,000 from Regions Financial PAC
  • $3,000 from Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association PAC
  • $2,000 from Supporting Conservatives of Today and Tomorrow PAC, a campaign committee funded almost exclusively by banks and investment firms
  • $1,000 from Vanguard Group PAC
  • $1,500 from US Bancorp PAC
  • $4,000 from UBS Americas PAC
  • $2,000 from Wells Fargo PAC

The number of those groups that got bailed out by the government following the economic collapse and/or have been implicated in the preceding and succeeding financial scandals from suspect mortgage lending to LIBOR price fixing is, well, overwhelming. This is where Andy Barr’s money comes from and this is who Andy Barr works for — Wall Street and the Investment and Banking firms he is supposed to oversee.

Among the individual donors to Andy Barr’s campaign since the end of June, there is only more of the same:

AndyBarrWallStreet

The $10,400 from the Blackstone Group is notable because Blackstone is under intense scrutiny for its “investment” in the Kentucky Retirement System (see here, here, here) and their deep pocketed contributions to Mitch McConnell’s campaign (here).

The $11,600 from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is a whole ‘nother can of worms. Cadwalader earlier this year hosted a fundraiser for Andy Barr at their headquarters in lower Manhattan, but these additional donations come after Andy Barr’s birthday bash in Washington DC where Barr was feted by Wall Street lobbyists. Cadwalader has argued heavily for unfettered access by the Too Big to Fail Banks to the “collateralized loan” market which even some prominent investment types view as a bubble ready to burst, and which has been described in the business press as bundled “junk rated corporate loans in top rated securities.”

Here’s what just part of what the Herald Leader reported last month on Andy Barr’s ties to Cadwalader:

Several of Barr’s campaign donors who are lobbying for his CLO bill declined to comment last week, including Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Wall Street financial advisory firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Cadwalader hosted a campaign fund-raising luncheon for Barr at its New York office on March 24, a month after a Cadwalader partner, Neil Weidner, spoke to lawmakers in favor of an early draft of Barr’s CLO bill.

“Without significant changes to these regulatory initiatives, we are deeply concerned about the sustainability of the CLO industry,” Weidner testified Feb. 26 before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets. Weeks later, he donated $2,600 to Barr’s campaign.

Cadwalader, which works for many of the nation’s largest banks, won about $19 million in legal contracts from the $700 billion federal bank bailout in 2008. It later was criticized by the bailout’s special inspector general, who questioned nearly $2 million of the firm’s fees and expenses, citing vague billing that made it impossible to determine “whether these charges were reasonable and therefore allowable.”

The Herald Leader reported yesterday that Andy Barr “had taken in $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests, including payday lenders, as of June 30.”

Since June 30th, Andy Barr has accepted an additional $67,000 from the finance industry and another $8,000 from the Predatory Payday Loan industry. That’s an additional $75,000, bringing that total to at least $409,666 as of the end of September. There’s no telling yet how much more they are pouring into Andy’s pockets at this moment.

The Barr/Jensen Debate will air live on KET at 8PM. It should be good TV. Andy Barr is hilarious, like a George W. Bush Mini-Me, and Elisabeth Jensen is a no-bullshit straight shooter. Tune in.

(The $75,000 total above does not take into account any donors in the state of Kentucky. In the interests of Kentucky, it does not consider any donor in Kentucky regardless of whom they worked for — as Kentuckians, it’s understandable why they’d have some interest in electing Andy Barr. This total only accounts for the amount Andy has taken from PACs and big out-of-state donors in the Too Big To Fail Predatory investment industries.)

“I Am Not a Scientist” — Does Mitch McConnell Believe Cigarettes Cause Cancer?

Mitch McConnell’s explanation for why he doesn’t believe in climate change — “I am not a scientist,” he says — has been roundly mocked. McConnell’s lame excuse didn’t just materialize out of no where, it is a Republican Party talking point with everyone from John Boehner to Bobby Jindal and Paul Ryan repeating it.

The idea is that despite the fact that 97% of the world’s climate scientists agree that humans are causing the world’s climate to change, Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans are uniquely unqualified to understand these facts because they are not scientists and cannot possibly comprehend scientific data nor are they capable of listening to actual scientists.

But this tactic — to declare that there are many facts and as simple cavemen elected officials, they do not understand all the facts and that as such there could be another explanation — is not new. It is a strategy ripped directly from the playbook of Big Tobacco.

The links between Big Tobbaco’s decades long fight to deny science and protect their profits at the cost of human lives and Right Wing strategies of today has been explored in relation to the tactics of scientific denial and the pursuit of willful ignorance, but it can also be clearly seen here in Mitch McConnell’s climate change denial.

The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, which “contains over 14 million documents (80+ million pages) created by major tobacco companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and scientific research activities,” contains numerous internal communications from the 1970s through the 1990s which clearly demonstrate the tobacco industry’s efforts to counter the overwhelming statistical evidence presented by the scientific community that cigarettes cause all manner of public health ailments.

These talking points mirror exactly the talking points being used today by Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans to deny the reality of climate change. They say “I am not a scientist” and that there are still many “arguments on both sides” and that after “years of study, controversy remains.” Despite the fact that 97% of scientists agree on the issue of climate change, the Republican Party talking point is that “scientists disagree.” And, if pressed, these industry funded climate change deniers will argue that statistical associations do not establish causation.

All these points are ripped directly from the tobacco industry’s playbook. This raises many questions, but perhaps the first one is, Does Mitch McConnell believe smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, and other deadly diseases?

It’s a yes or no question, but Mitch McConnell likely isn’t qualified to answer because, of course, he is not a scientist.

Here is a sampling of just some of the “I am not a scientist” documents that can be found in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. They range from personal letters to talking points created to prep executives for questioning before Congress:


IamNotaScientist1

IamNotaScientist9

IamNotaScientist8

IamNotaScientist7

IAmNotAScientist4

IamNotaScientist6

IamNotaScientist5

IamNotaScientist3

IamNotaScientist2

This same lame “I am not a scientist” excuse also appears in the 1995 blockbuster report in Vanity Fair that led to the Oscar winning film, “The Insider”:

The relationship between CBS and Tisch’s tobacco company, Lorillard, became a vexing problem for the news division. According to someone who knows Tisch well, when he bought Lorillard, in 1968, he viewed it only as a potential investment. “Years ago, the Tisch family was not afraid of liability. If he had asked his technical people, ‘Am I in any danger?’ he would have gotten the typical answer back: ‘You can’t prove anything in a liability case since the surgeon general forced the companies to put a warning on the packs.’” Tisch could not have forecast then the sweeping change in tort litigation, the possibility of immense jury awards. There was no imagining in 1968 how medical costs would soar in a few years. “None of this was on the horizon,” Tisch told me. “I couldn’t tell you today whether or not I would have bought Lorillard 30 years ago.… There is no clear-cut proof about addiction. I am not a scientist. I never smoked. I take a drink, but am I an addict? Liability suits? This is all pure speculation. I hate it when people tell me what I have been thinking.”

Lorillard became an immense cash bonanza for the Loews Corporation—the parent company controlled by Tisch and his brother, Robert—earning approximately $700 million a year.

Industry funded climate change deniers like Mitch McConnell will say pretty much anything to stick to the industry’s strategy — a strategy to delay action, to suggest more research is needed, or to simply deny clearly established scientific consensus:

The tobacco documents have many great nuggets of information — some of which were reviewed by the most excellent John Cheves [here, here, here] — and one that might be of particular use to anyone trying to get Mitch McConnell to speak the truth on anything comes from their in depth backgrounders on each of the members of Congress. In their research on Mitch and how to woo him (and lean on his donors at home), the tobacco industry made careful note of Mitch’s drink of choice:

McConnellVodka

So keep that in mind the next time your trying to ply him for favors.

Andy Barr Celebrates Pro Choice OB/GYN Support with Extremist “Even in Cases of Rape & Incest” Pro Life Group

On Thursday we told you about Andy Barr’s curious support from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a group which claims to represent 90% of the OB/GYNs in America. ACOG’s support is curious because they’re in favor of the Affordable Care Act’s robust safeguards for women’s health and Andy Barr wants to repeal and destroy the ACA — and ACOG’s support is even more curious since they’re an organization committed to ensuring the safe, legal and available access for women to abortion, and Andy Barr is not simply Pro Life but also firmly believes that survivors of rape and incest should be forced by the government to carry a fetus to term against their will.

The reason for ACOG’s support? Andy Barr is for sale. They paid him to push “medical malpractice” legislation to stop “frivolous lawsuits” and that’s what Andy did — so America’s OB/GYNs apparently think avoiding a rare lawsuit is worth more than a woman’s health.

Well, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will be happy to know how Garland H. Barr IV spent his Saturday morning: At a Pro-Life march sponsored by an “even in cases of rape and incest” group and hosted by Forcht Bank which is the bank of Karl Rove’s Super PAC, American Crossroads.

Andy’s update, featuring Forcht Bank:

AndyBarrWalkforLife

Right to Life of Central Kentucky’s exciting flyer (a Patriotic Picnic at Karl Rove’s bank!):

AndyBarrWalkforLife2

And the event’s Facebook page which apparently indicates five people attended.

AndyBarrWalkforLife3

So… Andy Barr, who is funded by the stridently pro-choice American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, spent Saturday morning at a fundraiser for Right to Life of Kentucky, a group that believes — just like Andy Barr — that rape and incest survivors must be forced against their will to carry a fetus to term, and as such are opposed to such things as the Morning After Pill which is taken before a woman could even know if she was pregnant. In short:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is to Andy Barr as Andy Barr is to Right to Life of Central Kentucky.

You can read much more about the Central Kentucky Right to Life groups views on Rape & Incest on their website where they insist “every life is sacred” which is, undoubtedly, true:

Monty Python-Every Sperm Is Sacred by Monty Python on Grooveshark

Central Kentucky Right to Life’s website will also tell you that it is “rare for women who have been raped or who are victims of incest to become pregnant, yet it happens.”

It is rare, no doubt, because women’s bodies just shut down.

The fascinating views of Andy Barr and his allies know no bounds. Here’s more:

Abortion isn’t the cure for rape, only an intrusive procedure that has been found to compound a woman’s mental and emotional pain from a rape or incest situation. Two wrongs don’t make a right and this is especially true with rape and abortion.

And how about this gem…

The fact is that allowing abortion in instances of rape and incest would send a horrible message. It says that human life should only be protected if the woman consented to having sexual intercourse. This bases the protection of unborn children on the acts of the mother, not on the intrinsic value of human life.

That’s right folks… rape and incest aren’t crimes committed against women, they are the result of “the acts of the mother.” Because, you know, she was probably asking for it.

This is who Andy Barr is, who he consorts with, who supports him and who makes up his base. Andy Barr believes, like these extremists, that survivors of rape and incest must be forced against their will to give birth — and apparently that’s a politician 90% of America’s OB/GYNs have decided to support.

Oh… and that bill Barr is pushing, the one ACOG is paying him for? It’s a terrible piece of legislation that disempowers already unempowered patients… so the OB/GYNs aren’t just putting liability reform ahead of women’s health, they’re putting really bad liability reform ahead of women’s health. Read more about it here:

The bill says it is meant to improve quality of care and patient safety. In fact, the bill contemplates a system so biased and unfair that legitimate cases would never go forward for patients covered by the bill’s provisions including elderly Medicare recipients; elderly, poor and disabled Medicaid recipients; and seemingly anyone who takes advantage of the Affordable Care Act, including those purchasing private insurance through exchanges.  The definitions of “health care liability claim” and “health care provider” are broadly crafted, to include not just traditional state medical negligence claims, but also claims brought against anyone licensed, registered or certified to provide health care services such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities. When legitimate cases are blocked from proceeding and negligence in hospitals and nursing homes is not properly exposed, patient safety suffers.  We strongly oppose this bill.

Lexington Herald Leader Endorses Elisabeth Jensen for Congress

In his first term, Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr has excelled at self-promotion and collecting money from the financial industry.

That’s how the Herald Leader’s endorsement of Elisabeth Jensen begins and it only gets clearer from there just how out of touch Barr is and how in-touch Jensen is, and it ends:

Jensen would serve the 6th District as a practical, compassionate advocate. Voters should send her to Congress.

In between is a clear explanation of Jensen’s background and of Barr’s “achievements” in his first term, which number in the threes and involve protecting Wall Street, protecting Predatory Payday Lenders, and serving other groups who’ve given heavily to his campaign rather than serving the people he represents.

If you’re a normal person, you wouldn’t appreciate paragraphs like this being written to describe you:

Barr also is one of the House’s far-right ideologues. He voted a year ago for the government shutdown that drained $24 billion from the economy. He voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy victims and defended as “compassionate” his vote to slash food stamps because it would push people out of dependency. The vast majority of food stamp recipients live in households with children, seniors or disabled individuals.

But if you’re Andy Barr, you probably think that was the greatest, most complete articulation of your extremist political platform and you’re giving your campaign staff hell for not coming up with it first.

READ IT ALL HERE.

Find out more about Elisabeth here:
Elisabeth Jensen for Congress

Oh… and for all you conservative knuckleheads that want to complain about the Communist Party’s control of all media, the Herald Leader also endorsed Hal Rogers in the 5th.

Andy Barr Working to Pay Back $30,000 in Loans from Predatory Lenders

“As I always tell you, I assume people donate to someone because they agree with their policy positions.”

That’s what Andy Barr’s spokesperson told the Herald Leader on Thursday in response to a John Cheves report on Andy’s work to defend and protect the Predatory Payday Loan Industry which has heavily funded the freshman Congressman’s campaign.

This is the same spokesperson who told the same paper last May that it was “Absurd!” to call Andy Barr “the Wall Street candidate.”

Here is just part of what Cheves reported in the Herald:

Barr, a House Financial Services Committee member, had taken at least $334,666 in campaign donations from the banking, finance and investments industries as of June 30, including payday lenders and major banks that have financed them, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. PNC, the bank that in March confirmed getting subpoenaed under Operation Choke Point, has given Barr $9,500.

….Payday loan chains with names like Cash America, Advance America and First Cash Financial have shared in billions of dollars in financial backing from major banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and Citibank, according to a study last year of the banks’ required public disclosures by Reinvestment Partners, a Durham, N.C., group that opposes payday lending.

Payday Lenders maintain deep institutional ties to the Too Big To Fail Banks which have long run and funded Andy Barr’s campaign. As Cheves notes, Barr has taken at least $334,666 from the banking, finance and investments industries as of June of this year. But the Payday Lenders have money of their own to give as well.

Cheves highlights that some of that money — he puts it at $22,700 — comes directly from Payday Lenders. But that total, it seems, is actually much higher now, thanks to Andy Barr’s most recent FEC filing which was released on Wednesday.

Cheves doesn’t delineate exactly how he got to $22,700 but based it matches up with my own count. As of the end of this June, I was able to find $21,200 in contributions from players in the Predatory Payday Loan industry. That’s a $1,500 difference which is likely either a single donation, two donations or three donations — but it doesn’t really matter, because it is more than safe to defer to Cheves on the number.

If Andy Barr has taken $22,700 from Predatory Payday Lenders through the end of June… how much has he taken since then? 

As with my earlier search, it is easy to underestimate the total because so many of these Predatory Lenders operate under multiple names or as subsidiaries of more legitimately named companies — or in some cases, the other way around.

Take David Fisher of Chicago, for example. Fisher wrote Andy Barr a check in July for $1,000. Fisher’s occupation is listed simply as “Executive” of a company named “Enova.” But Enova isn’t just some company, it’s the online lending arm of the Predatory Lending giant Cash America.

Other donors are more obvious. Abby Jones of Cleveland, TN is the “Government Relations Manager” for a company called “Check into Cash,” another online lender. Jones wrote Andy Barr a check for $1,000 in early August.

William C. Pruett of Texarkana, AK wrote Andy Barr a check for $2,500 on the last day of September. He’s the owner of DMP Investments — but as B&P has noted, William Pruett of Texarkana also appears to be the man behind payday lending outposts in Arkansas.

On August 8th, Andy Barr took a $1,000 check from Encore Capital Group in San Diego. That’s a debt collector that’s been the subject of numerous lawsuits over its collection tactics which apparently include robo-signing.

At the end of July, Garland H. Barr IV collected a $2,500 check from the Community Financial Services Association PAC. That group, which represents the biggest players in the Predatory Payday Lending Industry, had already given Andy $2,500 this past February, so this brings their total to $5,000. The Community Financial Services Association, the trade group of the payday loan industry, is the central force behind a lawsuit against the U.S. government concerning “Operation Choke Hold.” This Thursday, the same day Cheves’ report appeared on Kentucky.com, Andy Barr co-authored a letter to the Department of Justice doubling down on his contention that any government attempt to protect consumers — largely working families and members of the military — from these predators is an example of oppressive overregulation. Andy Barr is fighting to defend Payday Lenders, not to protect Kentucky families.

Those totals — and as with the earlier ones, there’s really no telling how many other contributions are going under the radar unless one were to cross reference every single one of Barr’s innumerable out-of-state donors — come to an additional $7,000 if you don’t count Encore… and $8,000 if you do (and if you were to go back and re-count Barr’s larger totals, the number of shady debt collectors would balloon his overall take here).

Either way, what you are looking at is clear. Andy Barr has taken roughly $30,000 that we know of from the Predatory Payday Loan Sharks for his re-election campaign and now, just weeks before Election Day, Andy Barr is actively pushing protections for the industry that’s handing him the cash.

Andy Barr’s spokesperson told the Herald Leader, “I assume people donate to someone because they agree with their policy positions.”

That’s an absurd proposition under any circumstance, but when you’re talking about Predatory Payday Lenders… it’s simply insane.

As anyone who’s ever gotten caught up in the Predatory Payday Lending Debt Cycle could tell you, these guys don’t give you $30,000 and expect nothing in return.

They will bleed you dry.

And apparently, so will Andy Barr.

***FOR MORE ON THIS***

The Payday Loan Industry preys on working class families (and very often, members of the military), offering them easy cash in seconds but charging them exorbitant interest rates on the backend. This usually creates a cycle of debt from which the borrowers struggle to emerge — they have to borrow more money to cover the cost of the initial loan, and so forth.

This business model has been condemned by a broad coalition of Kentucky groups, from the Kentucky Baptist Convention to the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, Habitat for Humanity and AARP. With the government finally trying to crack down on their predatory practices after more than a decade of free-wheeling, the Pay Day Loan Industry is flush with cash and buying up politicians like Andy Barr to do their bidding.

Read more here: Will the Government Finally Regulate the Most Predatory Industry in America?