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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Online ad knocks Florida lawmakers for payday lender support

Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Dennis Ross are accused of “sabotaging” new payday loan regulations in a web ad from a liberal group critical of the industry.

The video notes how much money the lawmakers have received from payday lenders and says they are trying to block reforms championed by President Obama.

The video will be a “targeted” buy on Facebook to “Florida political observers, some folks in congressional districts for members that are mentioned in the spot as well as people on Capitol Hill,” said Allied Progress spokesman Brad Bauman. The video mentions former Rep. Kendrick Meek as an industry "frontman."

The payday loan issue has risen in recent months, with Wasserman Schultz facing tough ads from the liberal group and her primary challenger Tim Canova. She and nearly all other members of the Florida delegation have defended Florida regulations as a national model.

Legislation Ross has introduced a bill would restrict changes to Florida law by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Twelve other Florida lawmakers are co-sponsors.

Allied Progress — and high profile advocates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren — say Florida is no model and that the average payday loan customer is “saddled with nine 300%+ interest loans each year and nearly one-in-three are burdened with a dozen or more.”

In addition to this video, the group is conducting online voting to determine who will be the target of a TV campaign, either Hastings or Rep. Patrick Murphy.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 12:14am]


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