Sunday 24th of January 2021

Rep. Bernie Buescher Has Links to Payday Loan Industry

Coloradans may want to reconsider their support of Representative Bernie Buescher. The lawmaker was recently discovered to have ties to a group linked to the payday loan industry, a special interest he has fought in the past. The representative, the Democratic incumbent in Grand Junction, is now facing voter doubts about his integrity and sincerity in battling the payday-loan special interests.

What Happened

Coloradans for Integrity, an independent political organization, sent out thousands of dollars’ worth of mailers in support of Rep. Buescher. IRS documents later revealed that this organization has ties to the same special interest that Rep. Buescher fought earlier this year in Congress. The documents link Coloradans for Integrity with the payday loan industry, the same industry that fought payday loan reform legislation that Buescher introduced this year. The mailer, which was sent out in late August of 2008, touts Buescher as an advocate of cracking down on sexual predators and prohibiting people from protesting at military funerals.

Who the Special Interest Is

The special interest to which Coloradans for Integrity is linked is called Axiom Strategies. Axiom is a Denver-based lobbying company that vehemently opposed legislation to cap exorbitant payday loan interest rates and fees, a law that Buescher supported. Buescher was one of 33 state legislators to support the bill. The lobbying firm could not be reached for comment when the media tried to get in touch.

Crooked Clients

One of Axiom’s clients, ACE Cash Express, wrote a $25,000 check to Coloradans for Integrity in August of 2008. The donation is the largest the group has received since its incipience in July. ACE Cash Express is one of the largest payday lenders in the U.S. and could’ve seen a drop in business if House Bill 1310, the reform legislation supported by Buescher, had passed. The bill later died in a Senate committee.

Buescher’s Reaction

Buescher seems unmoved by the revelation that he has ties to the industry. He said the vote of confidence by the payday loan industry was a testament to his policymaking skills. He claimed that the payday loan industry, even though they disagree with him and stand to lose millions and millions of dollars, still knew he had everyone’s best interests at heart.