After the jump, Pete Sessions in the news.
According to MapLight, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, the largest contributors to Pete Sessions's re-election campaign from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011 were Cash America International and Bank of America. CashAmerica is a big payday lender, a practice sometimes accused of offering short-term loans with exorbitant fees and usurious interest rates to people who can least afford it. That photo above is one of CashAmerica's outlets in Sessions's Congressional district on Coit Rd at Spring Valley Rd. Apparently, some of the profits that come out of such operations are channeled back into Pete Sessions's campaign coffers.
And that second largest contributor to Pete Sessions, Bank of America? Sessions was also in the news recently when it was revealed that he is the fourth current member of the House of Representatives to benefit from a "sweetheart deal" from defunct sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide. Let's connect the dots. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, "In December 2004, [Sessions] appeared with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and [Countrywide co-founder Angelo] Mozilo to announce the expansion of a Countrywide office in Richardson, Texas, which was supported by a $20 million state grant." Sessions later "received a $1 million loan in 2007 through Countrywide's VIP program, which at times offered loans at rates unavailable to the general public." When the subprime mortgage market went bust in 2008, Countrywide was bought by Bank of America for pennies on the dollar. Bank of America says it ended the VIP program when it bought Countrywide. But it does channel money into Pete Sessions's campaign coffers.
No one has alleged that there is anything illegal about the relationship between Pete Sessions and the banks and payday lenders. In fact, money influencing politics is more legal than ever, thanks in part to Pete Sessions's opposition to campaign finance reform. The only thing unusual is that, this time, it made the news. That's politics. That's Pete Sessions.