MADISON, Wis. — Since 2008 the Aycox family of Georgia, owners of auto-title loan businesses that prey on low-income consumers, have contributed $38,000 to Republican Assembly candidates and incumbent representatives. According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, their investment paid off big time when powerful Republican Rep. Robin Vos quietly inserted a provision into the 2011 state budget to undo consumer protections to the benefit of the Aycox’s businesses in Wisconsin.
Ross said, “These financial predators are trying to buy themselves a bunch of weak-kneed elected officials so they can undo existing consumer protections and further prey on Wisconsin consumers. Rep. Vos seems all to happy to oblige and facilitate the transaction.”
A review of state campaign finance records by One Wisconsin Now revealed that the Aycox family regularly provided Assembly Republican candidates and incumbents involved in competitive races with maximum $500 contributions in every election since 2008. As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vos, as co-chair of the budget writing Joint Committee on Finance, used his position to change state law to the benefit of the Aycox’s by slipping in a budget amendment in 2011.
When asked about the unseemly convergence between himself, public policy and campaign contributions, presumptive Assembly Speaker State Representative Robin Vos amazingly attempted to minimize the incident by declaring he solicits contributions from a broad range of special interests groups and their lobbyists that he could help or hinder from his position of power.
He commented, “Rep. Vos has been one of the most powerful legislators in the Capitol, he openly acknowledges that he’s used his position of power to undo protections from predatory lending for Wisconsin consumers to benefit of wealthy Georgians. As bad as that is, he tries to make it seem like no big deal because he does it all the time.”
“This kind of sleazy dealing makes it look like under Rep. Vos the State Assembly Republicans aren’t opening up the state for business, they’re putting state law up for sale,” concluded Ross.