Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has rocked American politics, shifting its leftward wing dramatically further to the left alongside her 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Conservative, and Republican, opposition to her policies is fierce.
Except, it turns out, with regard to at least one DC-based GOP lobbying firm.
Insider tipsters tell us that Harbinger Strategies is pushing for interest rate caps being pushed by AOC and currently under consideration by the House Financial Services Committee under the tenure of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
According to one player in financial services policy, “They’re the GOP firm advocating for a 36% rate cap.”
Senate lobbying disclosures show that Harbinger carries various clients in the banking sector, including a predatory lending company called Lendmark.
According to an expose in the Sacramento Bee today, Lendmark is one of a handful of lenders pushing an “anti-predatory lending” bill in California that would exempt the company from regulation that would shut down more conventional online lenders or force them to adhere to a 36 percent interest rate cap, which might not be feasible in the market.
Lendmark may technically charge an APR lower than 36 percent, but its borrowers can end up paying far more than the principal plus 36 percent because Lendmark makes its money off of selling “ancillary products” like credit insurance.
The price of such insurance would not count towards calculation of the APR under the legislation, ensuring Lendmark could continue to engage in what experts at Pew Charitable Trusts and other non-profits deem highly predatory lending while eliminating the overwhelming majority of their competition.
The proposed federal interest rate cap is suspected to be a similar stealth maneuver by companies like Lendmark, which is represented by Harbinger, to create a closed national predatory lending market that they and perhaps four other companies can monopolize.
As of June 7, Harbinger’s Senate disclosures only indicated they were working on “issues related to financial services.” But tipsters working within the space say the firm has been advocating for an AOC-style interest rate cap.
Harbinger’s founders include Kyle Nevins, a former Deputy Chief of Staff to former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), John O’Neill, a former aide to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Charles Grassley, and Steve Sombres, Cantor’s former Chief of Staff.
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