TOPEKA — Republicans are accusing Attorney General Steve Six of being a hypocrite after his campaign began airing a television advertisement criticizing his Republican opponent in the attorney general's race for his dealings with the payday loan industry.
The commercial says Republican Derek Schmidt, the Kansas Senate majority leader, accepted campaign contributions from short-term loan companies and then voted for a bill that would have allowed the companies to increase the interest rate on their loans to nearly 400 percent.
In response, Republicans point out that the Democratic attorney general had accepted $11,500 from the payday and car title loan companies since 2008, according to Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission records. Schmidt accepted $3,600 from the industry since 2005.
"The money he is using to pay for these attack ads comes from the same industry he is criticizing," said Ashley McMillan, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party.
Gavin Young, spokesman for Six's campaign, said voters should know Schmidt accepted contributions from QC Holdings, LoanMax, Anderson Financial Services and other payday or title loan businesses from 2005 to 2008.
He said Schmidt voted in 2005 for a bill that would have raised the interest rate payday loan companies could charge a consumer to 15 percent. The cap previously ranged from 6 percent to 10 percent for a 14-day loan.
The 15 percent rate would allow companies to charge a borrower 391 percent interest in one year, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The bill passed the Senate, but died in the House.
"Derek Schmidt supported increasing interest rates on Kansas consumers nearly 400 percent," Young said. "That's an indefensible amount."
Schmidt also voted for a bill in 2005 that allowed payday lenders to charge 15 percent of the amount of a cash advance. That law passed.
Six would have voted against the legislation, Young said.
Young wouldn't comment on the records showing that Six took three times more campaign contributions for the short-term loan industry than Schmidt received.
McMillan said the deceptive commercial told voters something about the Six campaign.
"Steve Six claims to have returned integrity to the Attorney General's Office, but this attack shows he is a desperate politician who is hypocritical," she said.