Dayton Daily News: Payday Lender Made 3 International Trips With Ex-Ohio House Speaker
When then-Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and his aide Ben Webb traveled to China in 2016, Carol Stewart of Advance America, a payday lender, made the trip too.
When Rosenberger toured London for four days in August 2017, Stewart was among the payday lending industry representatives on the junket.
And when Rosenberger traveled to Normandy, France in September 2017, Stewart did too. Advance America was listed as a sponsor along with Walmart, Reynolds American, Mainstreet and Ginni Ragan, a major donor to the Ohio House GOP campaigns.
“That creates an enormous potential for undue access and influence. An average voter in the state isn’t going to be able to fund an international vacation, complete with wine tastings and sight-seeing, with their lawmaker,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center. Spending days with a lawmaker gives special interests a chance to build a relationship, he said. “That can warp policy in favor of special interests rather than voters.”