We often hear about the role that the pharmaceutical industry, for-profit health care companies, and big banks have in influencing and corrupting elections and elected officials. But there is another group to add to this list: Debt Collectors. This is a billion dollar industry, and its political agenda goes far beyond the day-to-day regulation of collecting debts. The debt collection industry opposes any number of financial reforms as well as access to health care. Why? Predatory lending and huge health care bills keep people in debt. The more people that are in debt, in turn, the more profitable the industry.
In essence, debt collectors are the bottom-feeders that get rich digging and feeding on the garbage produced by our current system.
This broad political agenda was the reason the debt collectors trade group, Association of Credit and Collection Professionals or ACA, mobilized on behalf of Scott Brown. For 48 hours before the election, ACA did not just raise a little money for Brown. ACA members from all over the country stopped collecting debt and, instead, made free calls to voters is Massachusetts on behalf of Brown. Query whether those in-kind donations will ever be reported to the Federal Elections Committee.
Although I had head that these phone calls were taking place, and, by phone calls, I mean millions of phone calls. It was all laid out in an ACA press release sent after the election. The press release is entitled "ACA Members Help Influence Brown Election."
It goes on to state:
ACA Immediate Past President Jay Gonsalves and fellow New England Collectors Association member David Sands reached out to ACA members and mobilized them....Not only did members send money, but many agencies offered use of their phones as an in-kind contribution to the campaign.
Why would they do this?
With the very real threat of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency looming in Congress, as well as wholesale changes to a health care system that would affect many credit and collection professionals' livelihoods, ACA members helped the Brown campaign create a groundswell to victory.
Did you get that? Health care reform would adversely affect their livelihoods. Less medical debt means less money for the debt collection industry.
Look for more of this type of activity to come. On March 3 and 4th, the ACA is flying in members to lobby their elected officials against financial and health care reforms.
With this, it is all the more reason to join Americans for Fairness in Lending. Go for it. We need the help.