by Max Brantley
Bill Halter's campaign notes Blanche Lincoln's vote against legislation that would have let states impose lower limits on credit card interest. In Arkansas, this is a big dollar consumer issue.
Note that Lincoln has supported every effort by the business community to use the federal government to sidestep the state's constitutional usury provision and has won exceptions for most areas of lending. She's long been friendly, too, with the credit card industry, notably in 2005 bankruptcy legislation.
HALTER NEWS RELEASE
North Little Rock – On Wednesday, Sen. Blanche Lincoln voted to allow out-of-state credit card companies to keep charging sky-high interest rates to Arkansas consumers. The amendment to the financial reform bill would have allowed all 50 states to impose individual interest rate caps on out-of-state lenders.
Arkansas capped the rate in-state credit card companies can charge families at 17%. But most credit card companies aren’t based here and out-of-state credit card companies can and do charge Arkansas families well above 17%.
Sen. Lincoln's vote means these big credit card companies – many of which are headquartered in Delaware - can keep charging Arkansans whatever they want. And it’s no wonder – Sen. Lincoln has taken a total of $49,475 from credit card companies.
"Arkansas consumers are paying outrageous credit card fees to out-of-state companies, and Sen. Lincoln voted to allow them to keep taking advantage of Arkansans," said Halter campaign manager Carol Butler. "She has once again shown she is on the side of big banks and special interests, not Arkansas working families."
Sen. Lincoln has a history of siding with big credit card companies over Arkansas consumers. In 2005, Lincoln voted against a proposal to place a 30 percent ceiling on credit card interest rates. She also voted for the 2005 bankruptcy bill that critics charged would line the pockets of the credit card industry at the expense of consumers.