Jim Black (D),leader of the NC House, apparently finds it near impossible to stay out of trouble. While Atty. General Roy Cooper (D) was trying to shut down "payday lenders", Black and another NC House Democrat were taking more than $10,000 each from the lenders.
In case you didn't know, a payday lender is the same as a check-cashing service is the same as a legal loanshark. You bring them proof that you've got a job, and they'll give you a 30-day loan to cover you until your next paycheck. The problem is the interest rate. If you annualize the interest you pay on the short-term loan, the rates are outrageous -- I've heard 200% to 400%. Paying this kind of interest while pre-spending your next paycheck is a quick way into bankruptcy for many. Meanwhile, many banks and credit unions quietly offer the same service at much more reasonable rates. "Payday" = predatory.
While Roy Cooper was trying to shut these places down, the lenders were buying friends in high places. Black supported a law that would have helped the lenders stay in business.
The law didn't pass; Black's office says that donations don't influence policy (yeah, right). But it looks bad, bad, bad. The worst is of course the rich-people-buying-favors aspect -- this is the stuff that turns people off from the whole process. But there's also this: some of the people hurt most by predatory lenders are in the segment of society traditionally defended by Democrats. When the underprivileged are getting reamed by shady businesses, Dems should be there to stand up for the people, a la Roy Cooper. Black was too busy raking in the spoils of dirty politics to help.