A new report indicates that the payday loan industry has been spending some big money with lawmakers.
The review by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows the industry contributed nearly $30,000 to legislative campaign committees during the last half of 2009. Those came at the same time that the Legislature was considering new restrictions on lenders.
In one case, WDC director Mike McCabe says a contribution was made to a campaign committee controlled by Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan just a day before he shot down a bill that would have capped interest rates on payday loans.
The Speaker has admitted that he was dating a lobbyist for the payday loan industry. Although, he says that relationship is now over and did not influence his position on the bill.
The Assembly did pass legislation last month to regulate the industry, but it did not include the cap opposed by the industry. McCabe says it appears those donations have been paying off.
AUDIO: John Colbert reports (:37)