Washington D.C. – Today, government watchdog Accountable.US issued a letter to the Illinois Secretary of State Inspector General requesting a formal investigation into Opportunity Financial’s (OppFi’s) potential violations of the Lobbyist Registration Act. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this year, OppFi’s Senior Manager of Government Relations engaged in numerous meetings with Illinois lawmakers prior to registering as a lobbyist for the first time on January 26, 2022.
From hiding abusive fees that exploit vulnerable borrowers to keeping quiet about unofficial lobbying practices, there seems to be no line OppFi won’t cross to make an extra buck at the expense of consumers. If OppFi is violating Illinois law to influence lawmakers into shortchanging borrowers, it must answer for its damaging actions. Try as it may, this predatory lender cannot escape accountability for its apparent efforts to bring back Illinois’ triple-digit interest rates which would only damage the economic recovery and hurt consumers.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
BACKGROUND: Accountable.US strongly opposed the Trump administration’s payday rule that rolled back the ability-to-pay standard and has since repeatedly urged Congress to pass a national 36% interest rate cap akin to Illinois’ law.
- While OppFi halted its lending activity in Illinois after the 36% interest rate cap took effect last year, prior to registering as a lobbyist with the state, the company’s Senior Manager of Government Relations posted on social media in November 2021 of having a “phenomenal dinner” with the Illinois House Speaker. In early December 2021, the operative posted that she hosted “dinner & dialogue” with three Illinois lawmakers, including a member of Senate Leadership and the Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.
- Additionally, records show that OppFi’s Senior Manager of Government Relations had already held multiple meetings with state lawmakers when the company first appeared as a lobbying client of former Illinois Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne in an amended filing at the very end of 2021. Last October, OppFi’s Senior Manager of Government Relations thanked the National Conference of State Legislatures for a trip to Ireland with over 50 state legislative leaders from across the country.
OppFi’s practices warrant an immediate investigation by the Inspector General. The high-cost lending company has failed to provide an adequate explanation for its lack of lobbyist registration despite these meetings with various state lawmakers. If OppFi is in violation of the Lobbyist Registration Act to the detriment of the people of Illinois, it is critical they are held to account for their wrongdoings.