In the week before the General Assembly session began, title lenders gave $35,000 in campaign contributions even though the campaign for General Assembly seats had ended the previous November. Like many businesses, title lenders make a habit of making campaign contributions after the election and before the session, during which they are prohibited from giving. The donations are not reported until after the session, so following the money isn’t really a possibly during the flurry of action in Richmond.
“They serve a very useful purpose for the business because it reminds people right at the start of the session who their friends are,” said Stephen Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. “The coalition of people to block regulation may include some Democrats and some Republicans, and that’s why they are equal opportunity givers. Some money goes to Democrats and some goes to Republicans.”