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Forget Educational Savings Accounts, or new taxes on recreational marijuana.

The most lobbied bill of the session, according to Democratic Sen. Kelvin Atkinson? SB17, legislation brought by Republican state treasurer Dan Schwartz that would cap the number of high-interest loans that a person could take out at a single time.

While Atkinson said it was a tongue-in-cheek remark, given that it’s only the 17th day of the session, any legislation affecting payday loans is a touchy subject given the power and influence wielded by those companies in the state.

Forty-eight legislators, including six of the seven-member committee that heard Schwartz’s bill on Wednesday, took thousands of dollars from payday lending companies during the 2016 election cycle, and those companies in turn have hired nearly two dozen prominent lobbyists to represent them during the current session. More than half of the donations, which total nearly $134,000, were made in December 2016.

Donations went primarily to Democratic lawmakers — $74,250 — with payday loan companies giving $55,000 to Republican legislators over the 2016 campaign cycle.

The legislation would create a 45-day “cooling off” period for individuals who want to take out more than one loan, and create a state database tracking the loans and customers.

Payday loan companies issue small, short-term unsecured loans based on borrowers’ payroll and employment records. Other high-interest rate loans include car title loans, secured with the borrower’s vehicle as collateral, and pre-settlement funding, advances on the value of recovery in a lawsuit.

Grant Hewitt, Schwartz’s chief of staff, said he was well aware that the deck was stacked against making any significant changes to the industry.

“I remember floating the idea with a few legislators and getting, ‘You’re going to go up against that lobby,’ kind of look,” he said.

William Horne, a former legislator and lobbyist for Advance America, said the proposed limits would damage businesses that provide a valuable service for lenders with poor credit history.

“Emergencies pop up as the chairman mentioned earlier,” Horne said during the hearing. “Under the provisions of this bill, these informed adults would not be permitted to enter into another agreement for a loan for a particular need that they have.”

Legislators in 2015 approved SB242, a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Michael Roberson that required “better disclosing the rates and risks of payday loans. Democratic Assemblywoman Heidi Swank is also pushing for a bill that would make significant changes to the industry.

The donations primarily came from the companies themselves — Advance America, Check City, Community Loans of America, Moneytree, Dollar Loan Center and its parent company DLC Empire, Legal Loans, Payroll Funding Company, Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg and TitleMax — though Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, and Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, also gave directly to candidates.

Here’s a list of all the lawmakers who received contributions from payday and other short-term lenders, in order of greatest contributions to least:

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, Democrat: $18,500

  • $10,000 from TitleMax, the title lending company, in October 2015 and September 2016
  • $4,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in December
  • $2,500 from Advance America in November
  • $2,000 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December.

Senator James Settelmeyer, Republican: $12,000

  • $10,000 from TitleMax, half in October 2015 and half in September 2016
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, and Robin Bassford in December
  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in December

Senator Ben Kieckhefer, Republican: $10,000

  • $10,000 from TitleMax, half in December 2015 and half in September 2016

Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, Democrat: $8,500

  • $5,000 from TitleMax, half in December 2015 and half in September 2016
  • $1,500 from Community Loans of America in March
  • $1,000 from Moneytree in December
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December

Speaker Jason Frierson, Democrat: $7,500

  • $5,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in October
  • $1,500 from Moneytree in December
  • $1,000 from Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg in September 2015

Assemblyman James Oscarson, Republican: $6,500

  • $5,000 from TitleMax, half in May and half in June
  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center
  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Steve Yeager, Democrat: $5,000

  • $1,000 from Dennis and Robin Bassford in December 2016
  • Received $1,000 from DLC Empire, the parent company of Dollar Loan Center, in June 2016
  • $500 from Payroll Funding Company LLC in December 2016
  • $2,500 from Titlemax in December 2016

Senator Scott Hammond, Republican: $5,000

  • $5,000 from Titlemax, half in October and half in December 2016

Senator Kelvin Atkinson, Democrat: $4,500

  • $2,500 from TitleMax in September
  • $1,000 from Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg in October
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bradford, president of Moneytree, in December

Senator Pete Goicoechea, Republican: $4,500

  • $2,000 from Check City in two $1,000 contributions given in December 2016
  • $2,500 from Titlemax in December 2015

Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson, Republican: $4,000

  • $2,500 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in October 2016
  • $1,000 from Check City in December 2016
  • $500 from Security Finance Corp of Spartanburg in September 2015

Senator Heidi Gansert, Republican: $3,500

  • $2,500 from TitleMax, a title lending company, in October
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, and Robin Bassford

Senator Joe Hardy, Republican: $3,500

  • $2,500 from TitleMax in December 2015
  • $1,000 from Check City in December 2016

Senator Mark Manendo, Democrat: $3,500

  • $2,500 from TitleMax in December
  • $1,000 from Dollar Loan Center in October

Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Democrat: $3,500

  • $1,000 from Check City in December 2016
  • $2,500 from TitleMax October 2016

Senator Becky Harris, Republican: $2,500

  • $2,500 from TitleMax in September 2016

Senator Joyce Woodhouse, Democrat: $2,000

  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in December
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, in December

Senator Julia Ratti, Democrat: $2,000

  • $1,000 from Check City in December
  • $1,000 from TitleMax in September

Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, Democrat: $2,000

  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in October
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, in December

Senator Nicole Cannizzaro, Democrat: $2,000

  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in December
  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblyman Edgar Flores, Democrat: $1,500

  • $1,000 from TitleMax, a title lending company, in September
  • $500 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, Democrat: $1,500

  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan, founder of Dollar Loan Center, in December
  • $500 from Check City in December

Senator David Parks, Democrat: $1,000

  • $1,000 from Moneytree in December

Assemblyman John Hambrick, Republican: $1,000

  • $1,000 from the Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, Republican: $1,000

  • $1,000 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, Democrat: $1,000

  • $500 from Check City in December
  • $500 from Legal Loans, which provides pre-settlement funding, half in July and half in September

Senator Pat Spearman, Democrat: $1,000

  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, and Robin Bassford in December

Senator Patricia Farley, Nonpartisan: $1,000

  • $1,000 from Charles Brennan

Senator Tick Segerblom, Democrat: $1,000

  • $1,000 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Seattle-based payday lender Moneytree, in December 2016.

Assemblyman Justin Watkins, Democrat: $750

  • $500 from Check City in December
  • $250 from Legal Loans, which provides pre-settlement funding, in May

Assemblywoman Brittney Miller, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblyman Chris Brooks, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Chris Edwards, Republican: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblywoman Dina Neal, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, Republican: $500

  • $500 from Dennis Bassford, the president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblyman John Ellison, Republican: $500

  • $500 from DLC Empire, the parent company of Dollar Loan Center, in January 2015

Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury, Republican: $500

  • $500 from Dennis Bassford, president of Moneytree, in December

Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December 2016

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December 2016

Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December 2016

Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City in December 2016.

Assemblyman Will McCurdy, Democrat: $500

  • $500 from Check City, the payday lending company, in December 2016

Lobbyists

Most of the groups that gave to legislators have hired professional lobbyists to represent them — a total of 22 individuals — including:

  • Advance America, which is retaining William Horne and Edith Duarte of the Horne Duarte government affairs firm.
  • Check City, which is listed as a client for three lobbyists —Kandis McClure, Alisa Nave-Worth and Jodi Stephens — who work for the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
  • Community Loans of America, which hired lobbyists Regan Comis and Keith Lee to represent the company.
  • Moneytree, which is also retaining the three Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck registered lobbyists.
  • Dollar Loan Center, which is retaining lobbyist Sean Higgins.
  • Payroll Funding Company, which is retaining four lobbyists — Kristina Kleist, Dwayne McClinton, Erv Nelson and Neal Tomlinson — through Hyperion Advisors.
  • Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg, which is retaining five lobbyists: Joseph Brown with the law firm of Kolesar & Leatham, Strategies360 lobbyists Marcus Conklin, Bianca Marquez and John Oceguera, and lobbyist Marla Williams.
  • TitleMax, which is retaining five lobbyists through the Griffin Company  — Chelsea Capurro, Tia Dietz, John Griffin, Josh Griffin and Matthew Griffin.
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