- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Contributions from payday lenders are generating attention in a Kansas congressional race amid campaign records showing that incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder is a major beneficiary.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics, found that Yoder has taken more than $248,000 in donations from people and groups associated with the industry during his career. That’s more than any other member of the House or Senate, The Kansas City Star reports.

The payday loan contributions include $48,200 for his race this year against Democrat Jay Sidie, who has no record of accepting payday loan-related donations. Only GOP Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida have taken more this election cycle.

Yoder, who has served in Congress since 2011, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that across the board, he favors less federal regulation of financial services businesses in favor of state oversight. Yoder said Congress created “an expensive, bloated bureaucracy” with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and it threatens to “run roughshod” over state laws.

“They have hurt small businesses in our communities, from realtors to auto dealers, to short-term lenders, to small banks, to community banks,” he said, adding that such reforms “frankly didn’t do anything to stop the big businesses and big banks.”

In an interview this week, Sidie campaign manager Shawn Borich called Yoder’s continued acceptance of contributions from the payday loan industry “appalling.”

He said it shows that Yoder is “desperate and out of touch with Kansas.”

Meanwhile, federal campaign finance reports show that Yoder continued aggressive fundraising this week, collecting nearly $40,000 in contributions on Sunday and Monday, to bring his total for the month to more than $548,000.

Yoder’s latest contributions included $17,000 from nine fellow Republicans in Congress, bringing the total he’s raised from House or Senate members to more than $84,000 since Oct. 20. He’s received contributions from campaign committees or leadership PACs associated with three dozen GOP incumbents.

Sidie’s latest report shows him raising an extra $3,000 Saturday and Sunday to bring his total contributions to the month to about $108,000. The donations include $16,000 from nine House Democrats.

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