Dennis “Trojan Horse” Bassford

of Money Tree, Inc.

Dennis Jay Bassford co-founded payday lender MoneyTree, Inc. in 1983 with his family. It now extends across five western states, with Washington State being its largest market. He has served as its CEO since 2008.

Bassford has repeatedly opposed regulations on the payday lending industry, claiming that those who wanted to regulate payday loans were “underestimating his customers.” At the same time, he has claimed that his company offers financial literacy programs but his knowledge of those programs when pushed for details by a reporter were foggy at best. What about programs for the customers he traps in a cycle of debt? About that he was clear, stating, “We’re not conducting programs with our customers.”

His company has employed more than a half-dozen lobbyists who have pushed for legislation that would allow them to skirt regulations while still charging fees that totaled more than 200 percent APR. He claimed that those who opposed the measure were “blinded.” Bassford has a history of pushing for legislation in Washington State under the guise of regulations that were, in effect, Trojan horses for the industry. Even with the regulations he backed in place, Washington State officials accused his company of skirting them in 2010.

He claims that a more reasonable 36 percent APR would force his company to close stores and layoff workers, equating it to a “ban” on payday loans.

Bassford has also rejected evidence-based claims that his industry targetscommunities of color, low-income households, and military families. He even hired a prominent African American media strategist to defend his company’s practices and claimed that an interest rate cap on loans offered to military families would result in his company ceasing to lend to those families. He claimed that payday loans were not predatory and blamed consumers for abusing the product while at the same time attempting to justify fees that equaled up to 400 percent APR.

Private Forrest

Bassford owns this $2.4 million mansion nestled in a “private forrest” on Mercer Island, Washington.

Over the years, Bassford has complained that regulations would hamper his ability to turn a profit, that the recession would hurt his bottom line because costumers needed a job in order to take out a loan, and complained that he couldn’t make enough profit offering $1,000 loans. Meanwhile, he lived in a $2.6 million home on Mercer Island that was “hidden in a private forest” and included “a gated, private drive.”

Over the past several years, Bassford has contributed nearly $200,000 to the campaigns of Members of Congress and payday lending industry special interest PACs that, in turn, contribute heavily to the campaigns of Members of Congress and other elected officials.

The Details

Bassford Has Led the Fight to Skirt Regulations

  • Bassford Opposed Attempts To Regulate Payday Loans, Claimed Critics Were “Underestimating His Costumers.” “Two state lawmakers who once sparred over payday-lending legislation are now working together on a more measured approach to regulating the industry.State Reps. Sherry Appleton and Steve Kirby are co-sponsoring bills that would create new financial-literacy programs and lay the groundwork for a database to track loans.Appleton, D-Poulsbo, originally sponsored a bill that would cap payday-loan interest rates at 36 percent annually, a measure that lenders said would put them out of business.Kirby, D-Tacoma, killed the proposal as chair of the House Insurance, Financial Services and Consumer Protection Committee.Their two new bills were heard Thursday in Kirby’s committee.House Bill 2231 would require lenders to pay a 25-cent per-loan surcharge to fund financial-literacy programs to educate borrowers. HB 2258 would instruct the Department of Financial Institutions to study the merits of a database to track loans…In response to all of the bills, Money Tree CEO Dennis Bassford said lawmakers and critics are underestimating his customers. “They are rational, responsible people who have made the decision to get a payday loan,” he said.” [Seattle Times, 2/23/07]
  • Bassfords Employed Seven Lobbyists In Washington State Alone To Protect Its Payday Lending Practices. “The Bassfords — Dennis, and his brother Dave and sister-in-law Sara — spend a lot of money in Olympia to make sure the Legislature doesn’t curb their ability to mainline from the limited assets of low income workers. Between 2005 and 2009, MoneyTree employed seven lobbyists in three states to protect its payday lending practices. They gave over half a million dollars to both Republican and Democratic candidates.” [Seattle Post Globe, 10/13/10]

Under Bassford, MoneyTree Pushed for Legislation That Would Allow Them to Skirt Federal Regulations While Still Charging High Fees

  • MoneyTree And Its Executives Including Bassford Contributed Nearly $200,000 To State Legislatures As They Debated Legislation That Would Allow Them To Skirt Federal Regulations While Still Charging High Fees. “Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree and its executives funneled nearly $200,000 into state lawmakers’ 2012 campaigns just months before a proposal emerged in the Legislature to create a new type of high-interest consumer loan. The company’s contributions in previous years rarely topped $140,000.Payday lenders in Washington were hit hard after the state passed payday loan reforms in 2010, with the number of payday loans in the state falling from 3.2 million in 2009 to 856,000 in 2011, according to the state Department of Financial Institutions.Subsequently, during the 2012 election season, payday lender MoneyTree and its executives contributed a total of $193,755 to state lawmakers’ campaigns, with 98 percent of that money going toward Republican candidates, according to Public Disclosure Commission records…The bill was sent to the Senate floor after La Center Republican Sen. Ann Rivers moved the proposal out of the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate approved the bill, 30-18 MoneyTree executives contributed $7,200 to Rivers’ election campaign.“I have always believed in the right to participate in politics,” said MoneyTree CEO Dennis Bassford. “And that includes contributing money to election campaigns.” Bassford would not comment on how he or other company executives decide which candidates they give to.” [News Tribune, 4/8/13]
  • Under Bassford, MoneyTree Pushed For Legislation That Would Put Their Payday Loans Out Of Reach Of Regulations But Allow Them To Charge An APR Above 200 Percent In Fees. “For three years, payday lenders have been bracing for dedicated scrutiny from a U.S. agency for the first time. One way they’re getting ready: switching to loans designed to fall outside the regulator’s grasp.Companies including Cash America International and Advance America Cash Advance Centers are increasingly selling longer-term installment loans to avoid rules the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may impose on their shorter-term products. While consumer groups say installment loans carry the same risks and high annual interest rates that drew regulatory attention to payday lending, companies making the switch have won kudos from shareholders. They’ve also taken encouragement from statements made by agency officials…State lawmakers are debating proposals backed by MoneyTree, a payday lender in Seattle, to authorize installment loans for as much as $2,000 at a 36 percent annual interest rate.The legislation also would permit origination fees and monthly maintenance fees that could push the effective annual rate above 200 percent, according to a calculation by the state Department of Financial Institutions.Dennis Bassford, CEO of MoneyTree, didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.Under a law that took effect in 2010, borrowers in Washington are limited to eight payday loans in any 12-month period, and the state maintains a database that allows lenders to track adherence to the rule.” [Bloomberg, 5/29/13]
  • Bassford Said That Opponents Of The Measure And Payday Lending In General Were “Blinded.” “Supporters of the measure say the loans are a better short-term deal for borrowers than payday loans, and they will allow companies with a physical presence in Washington state to compete against online lenders who they say are gaining market share. Dennis Bassford, CEO of MoneyTree Inc., a Seattle-based payday lender and check casher that is helping promote the bill, said his adversaries are predisposed to oppose his industry. “There are certain groups that are opposed to the lending industry in general,” he said. “I think they become blinded” even when a good product is put forward. Bassford did not appear to win over skeptics, however.” [AP, 3/27/13]

Bassford’s Company Skirted Regulations in Washington State

  • Under Bassford, Washington Officials Accused MoneyTree Of Skirting New Consumer Laws That Limit A Borrower TO Eight Payday Loans In A Year. “State regulators have accused MoneyTree Inc. of skirting new consumer laws that limit a borrower to eight payday loans in a 12-month period.The Department of Financial Institutions on Wednesday issued a temporary cease-and-desist order to the Renton-based payday lender. The Kitsap Sun reported that the state ordered MoneyTree to stop allowing borrowers to use and then “rescind” small loans and stick to an eight-loan limit. Rescinding the loans allows a borrower to have a clean slate.Dennis Bassford, MoneyTree’s chief executive, said he doesn’t believe the practice violates the new law but that the company has stopped the practice. He said MoneyTree and DFI are “just interpreting the statute differently.”” [Lewiston Morning Tribune, 4/25/10]

Bassford Favored Payday Reform Efforts that Consumer Advocates Said Wouldn’t “Change the States Quo”

  • Bassford Favored Bill Allowing Consumers To Convert Payday Loan To An Installment Loan Once A Year Over Tougher Reforms. “The bill, while leaving fee structures and business practices largely intact, would allow customers to pay back some loans in at least four payments over 60 days at no additional cost. A borrower could use the payment-plan option only once a year, but it would be available after just one loan. Currently, borrowers can opt into a similar payment plan after four successive loans and are usually charged an extra fee. Appleton, D-Poulsbo, said Kirby’s legislation “doesn’t change the status quo at all” because most people taking out payday loans borrow so often that one free payment plan would make little difference. Money Tree CEO Dennis Bassford is more supportive. “It is certainly a better attempt at good regulation than what it is being proposed by Rep. Appleton,” said Bassford, who leads one of the state’s largest payday-lending chains.” [Seattle Times, 2/2/07]

Bassford Pushed for Legislation That Was Seen as a Win for the Industry

  • Bassford Hired Former Payday Loan Regulator In Washington State To Lobby Legislature On Measure That The Payday Industry Saw As A Success. “Payday-loan companies have stepped up their political profile in Olympia this session in an effort to beat back proposals that would more tightly regulate the fast-growing industry.The industry has hired as lobbyists two former directors of the state agency that regulates payday loans. And in 2004, the state’s Top 10 payday-loan companies boosted their political contributions almost eightfold to nearly $200,000…Mark Thomson, who for nine months served as DFI’s interim director, then as its director of consumer services. Almost immediately after leaving DFI in June 2003, he went to work for Renton-based payday lender MoneyTree, where he serves as compliance officer and director of government relations…For the past two weeks, Thomson has declined repeated requests for comment. MoneyTree president Dennis Bassford dismissed as “pretty offensive and outrageous” any questions about Thomson’s integrity. Bassford called the bill that passed two years ago “a good bill” that included some consumer protections, including the borrower’s right to cancel a loan the next business day. It also created a “payment plan” that allows borrowers, after they have taken out the fourth loan from the same lender, to work out a repayment plan over a period of at least 60 days.” [Seattle Times, 3/7/05] 

So It’s No Surprise That Bassford Opposed Capping Interest Rates on Payday Loans; Complained They Couldn’t Make Enough Profit

  • Bassford Opposed Federal Payday Loan Rate Cap Of 36 Percent, Claimed It Would Force Layoffs. “The industry, however, contends its services provide a temporary, financial bridge to customers in need, and that a 36 percent cap would essentially put it out of business.”We’re regulated by the state, by the federal government. They are calling regulation something that really is elimination,” said Dennis Bassford, chief executive officer of Seattle-based MoneyTree Inc. “Here’s what the bill does: First and foremost it takes away this option for the customers in an environment where credit options are fewer.”…Bassford, whose company employs more than 600 people, says capping the interest rate at 36 percent will force job cuts.”[AP, 2/8/09]
  • Bassford Said A 36 Percent Rate Cap Was “A Ban” On Payday Loans And He Closed Store The Only Store In Oregon After The State Passed A Cap. “Dennis Bassford, president of 55-store Money Tree, Inc., closed his one Oregon shop because of the 36 percent cap. “Thirty six percent is a ban,” he said. “My company is proof of that.” Bassford is a heavy political donor. State campaign finance reports show that since 1998, he and family members affiliated with Money Tree have contributed nearly $200,000 to politicians in Washington state. Among the recipients: Gov. Chris Gregoire, Attorney General Rob McKenna, Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson and several current and former local lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, Sen. Brad Benson, Rep. Bob Sump, Rep. Alex Wood and Sen. Brian Murray. Bassford and his wife have already donated $3,000 to Gov. Gregoire’s re-election campaign for 2008.” [Spokesman Review, 12/29/06]
  • Bassford On 36 Percent Rate Cap: “We Cannot Lend $100 On 10 Cents A Day.” “Beginning Oct. 1, 2007, no U.S. lender may charge more than 36-percent interest to a military person on active duty, or his family a measure Congress aimed principally at protecting soldiers from payday loans. Several states have effectively banned such loans; in Oregon, a 36-percent cap goes into effect July 1. A group led by the Service Employees International Union is pushing for a similar cap in this state. Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, has introduced such a bill. “We’re not asking for a ban,” Appleton told a Senate hearing in Olympia Dec. 1, but a ban is what it amounts to. Current Washington law sets a ceiling of $15 in interest and fees per $100 loan amount, up to a loan of $500. If you want $100 for two weeks, you write a check for $115 and postdate it. For your C-note, you are paying $1.07 per day, which sounds reasonable enough. It is, however, an annual rate of391 percent. The new usury cap would impose a 91-percent price cut on a $100 payday loan, reducing the fee from $1.07 a day to 10 cents. Says Dennis Bassford, CEO of MoneyTree Inc., Tukwila, “We cannot lend $100 on 10 cents a day.”” [Seattle Times, 12/13/06]

Bassford Has Defended the Industry and Its Targeting of Minorities and Military Families

Bassford Hired African American Strategist to Defend His Business Practices

  • Bassford Hired African American Strategist To Defend Its Image And Against Attacks That His Company Targeted Minorities. “George Griffin strode into the festively decorated First Hill branch of MoneyTree, a local payday lender, dressed in blue jeans and a black blazer, still talking into his ear bud. A few minutes later the company’s owner and founder, Dennis Bassford, appeared, sporting a brown-gray suit with no tie. Bassford hired Griffin last summer, ostensibly to do general media relations. But his assignments quickly became very specific. Griffin, who is black, spends much of his time addressing accusations that MoneyTree, a Renton-based chain, and other payday lenders have targeted minorities and the poor.” [The Stranger, 12/28/06]

Defended Doing Business with the Military and Opposed Regulations and Rate Caps on Loans to Military Families

  • Bassford Defended Targeting On Military Families, Claimed Rate Cap On Loans To Military Would “Eliminate Their Choices.” “MoneyTree’s Bassford said loans to military families make up less than 2 percent of the business for the payday loan industry. In his view, the 36 percent interest rate cap effectively outlaws payday loans to military families without addressing underlying issues. “In what way did this change their need for short-term credit?” Bassford asked. “Eliminating their choices doesn’t eliminate their need.” Bassford also defended the industry’s interest rates as reflective of the high cost of maintaining and staffing its offices. MoneyTree alone has about 600 employees in the state. “This is a retail business,” Bassford said. “It is done with people, face to face.”” [Bellingham Herald, 12/10/06]
  • Bassford Opposed Regulations On Payday Loans To Military Families. “After two years of Congressional study, the Senate approved a bill yesterday that would tighten the rules governing the marketing of life insurance and high-cost mutual funds to American military personnel. The measure differs slightly from a companion bill approved by the House last summer, 405 to 2, and those differences must be ironed out before final enactment. But sponsors of the Senate bill said yesterday that they were confident that the two versions could be reconciled, given their broad bipartisan support… But the Senate measure would not eliminate military demand for payday loans, said Dennis Bassford, chief executive of MoneyTree in Seattle, and a board member of the Community Financial Services Association, an industry group. It would simply drive that demand to Internet lenders, ‘where the price will be double and there’s no way to effectively regulate it.’” [New York Times, 7/20/06]
  • Bassford Complained About 36 Percent Rate Cap on Loans To Military Families And As A Result “We Don’t Do Business With The Military.” “Bassford explains that a 36 percent cap would mean that he could charge about $1.38 per $100 on a short-term loan. For loans that aren’t paid back right away or get rolled over, that might eventually add up. But for the loans that are paid back at the next payday, it would eliminate his profit. As a result of the cap, “we don’t do business with the military,” he says. When a state enacts regulations that make the military cap a blanket requirement, he closes his stores completely. He pulled out of Oregon—the state where he was born—when a 36 percent rate cap took effect last year. Bassford says the lower interest rate on such small loans doesn’t cover the basic expenses of his business, including labor, rent, and covering defaults. A 2005 study by a University of Florida professor and economist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found that the average cost of making a payday loan was around $30. A 36 percent maximum APR would allow stores to charge at most $9.70 on a $700 loan. Bassford believes the lack of payday lending to military families since the cap hasn’t eliminated the need for short-term credit for service members.” [Seattle Weekly, 3/11/08]
  • Bassford Complained About Regulations On Offering Payday Loans To Military Families: “You Can’t Offer A Product At A Loss.” “Dennis Bassford, president and chief executive officer of MoneyTree Inc., a Seattle-based payday lender, regards this as evidence that the regulatory concerns are out of step with how payday loans actually affect consumers.The low number of complaints “tells me that people are pretty happy with our product,” Bassford said.The figures were released as the industry grapples with how to adapt to the military’s new regulations. Enacted as part of the Defense Department’s annual budget authorization bill, the 36 percent rate cap will likely go into effect sometime next year.According to Bassford, the cap will make it impossible for payday lenders to turn a profit on the loans, and will likely cause them to stop offering the loans to military personnel.When the military rules go into effect, “I don’t believe anybody will be offering this product to members of the military, their spouses or dependents,” Bassford said. “You can’t offer a product at a loss.”” [Puget Sound Business Journal, 11/19/06]

Bassford Even Claimed the Industry Didn’t Target Low Income Families

  • Bassford: “There’s Somewhat Of A Myth About This Industry That It Is Just For Low-Income People.” “The services, part of any industry known as “fringe banking,” have developed a reputation as greedy vultures who prey mostly on desperate poor and minority urban dwellers by charging extraordinary fees for basic financial services.But check-cashing services are no longer confined to inner-city neighborhoods, and poor people who don’t have or can’t get bank accounts aren’t the only ones who use them, said Dennis Bassford, co-founder of the Money Tree, a chain of check-cashing services with locations in Everett, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton, as well as Seattle and Tacoma.”There’s somewhat of a myth about this industry that it is just for low-income people,” Bassford said. “It’s hard to describe a typical Money Tree customer. It’s just a cross-section, young and old, male and female.”Bassford opened the first of his 31 Money Trees in Renton in 1983 and since then he has seen the industry spread deeper into the suburbs and his clientele stretch farther up the income ladder to include not only people on public assistance but also restaurant workers, Boeing employees and young professionals living paycheck to paycheck. Another myth about the industry is that check cashers locate in places where bank branches aren’t easily accessible, said Bassford, who is president of the Washington Check Cashers Association.”We have banks all around us,” Bassford said from his store in South Everett, which is near several bank branches. “It is a reality that many of their policies enable us to be in business.”” [Seattle Times, 1/26/98]

Bassford Often Complained about Not Being Able to Make Enough Money

Bassford Complained That the Recession Hurt His Business Because People Had to Be Employed to Take out a Payday Loan

  • Bassford Complained That Business Was Down During The Recession Because Borrowers Had To Be Employed To Take Out A Payday Loan. “MoneyTree Chief Executive Officer Dennis Bassford said more shops in his chain may close as the state restrictions take hold and leases come up for renewal. “We have a number of them that we are evaluating,” he said. “It’s just impossible to predict what your business is going to be.” Bassford said the recession has already taken a toll on MoneyTree’s 140 stores, of which 60 are in Washington. Contrary to what he said is a widely held misperception, payday lending shops tend to not flourish in hard times, for an obvious reason: “You have to have a paycheck, or source of income,” he said. If would-be borrowers do not have a job, they do not get a loan. “Our business, almost by definition, is down,” Bassford said.” [Spokesman Review, 12/6/09]

Bassford Also Complained They Couldn’t Make Enough Profit Offering $1,000 Loans

  • Bassford Complained That Payday Lenders Couldn’t Make Enough Profit Offering $1,000 Loans. “Under current law, anyone who takes out a payday loan in Washington and feels they can’t pay the loan back by the due date can have their loan converted to an installment loan with no additional fees – an option payday lenders are required to inform borrowers of. However, according to a 2011 DFI report, only 9.52 percent of payday loans were converted to installment plans. MoneyTree’s founder and CEO, Dennis Bassford, testified in support of the bill at a hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee. He said his company’s customers would prefer installment loans 2-to-1. But, Bassford said, current “statutory framework” doesn’t allow lenders to “profitably offer” $1,000 loans.” [The Olympian, 2/18/13]

Claimed Payday Loans Were Not Predatory and Blamed Customers for Abusing the Product

  • Bassford: “Payday Loans Are Not Predatory” “When a similar law passed in Oregon a few years ago, payday-loan stores shuttered their doors, and customers turned to online lenders, said Dennis Bassford, chief executive officer of MoneyTree Inc. “Payday loans are not predatory,” he said. “For the most part, they are responsible businesses.”” [Denver Post, 2/19/08]
  • Bassford: “There Are People Who Misuse All Kinds Of Products In Society.” “On Monday, Colorado lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill that would cap the allowable finance charges for payday loans at an annualized rate of 36 percent. Dennis Bassford, chief executive of Seattle- based MoneyTree Inc., told me that if this bill goes through, he will close his 13 locations in Colorado. It’s odd to hear a businessman say he can’t operate on 36 percent annualized interest. But that’s apparently how it is. “These are labor-intensive loans,” Bassford explained. They require storefronts with employees, equipment and utilities. Just managing paperwork for every $300 or $500 loan is expensive. Who else makes small loans for just two weeks – to people with little or no credit? And if they later feel trapped, there are 60-day workout plans required by Colorado law after four consecutive payday loans, Bassford said. “Our biggest critics are people who never used the product, will never have a need to use the product and don’t want you to have a choice to use the product,” he said. Bassford concedes that people can get in trouble with payday loans. People also get in trouble with credit cards and mortgages. “There are people who misuse all kinds of products in society,” he said.” [Denver Post, 2/17/08]
    • Bassford on Payday Loan Customers: “These Are People Who Understand Completely What They Are Doing.” “Bassford says his company’s services are transparent. ‘These are people who understand completely what they are doing,’ he says. Customers borrow against their paychecks by signing over a post-dated check for the amount of the loan plus a fee. If they don’t come in by the due date, their checks get deposited and they get stuck with fees for insufficient funds. Anti-payday-loan activists say a crushing cycle of debt is often set into motion when customers pay off one loan and immediately take out another to cover living expenses.” [The Stranger, 12/28/06]
    • Bassford: “We Represent A Choice Among The Many Choices That People Have – And Clearly A Better Choice.” “For his part Bassford says he doesn’t see himself as either a hero or a villain in the ideological fight over payday lending, just someone offering up a credit option for people who might not otherwise be able to get it. “I believe that our customers totally understand this transaction,” he says. “I think we represent a choice among the many choices that people have—and clearly a better choice.’” [Seattle Weekly, 3/11/08]

…While Attempting to Justify 400 Percent APRs

  • Bassford Attempted To Justify Charging 400 Percent APR’s By Noting That 30 Percent Of His Business Volume Is Bad Debt. “Payday loan companies charge about $15 for every $100 borrowed. The duration of the loans is typically about two weeks. On an annual rate, that would approach 400 percent. A typical bank or credit union loan would require a higher minimum amount but the charge for interest would be far less. MoneyTree President Dennis Bassford, an Idaho native, told lawmakers earlier that it was unfair to compare the fees his industry charges to those charged by banks. He compared payday-loan outlets to convenience stores, that typically charge more than supermarkets for the convenience they offer. Bassford also justified the rates by pointing out that about 30 percent of his business volume is bad debt. The company and its officers made substantial contributions to Idaho political campaigns last year including a MoneyTree contribution of the maximum $5,000 to Kempthorne’s re-election campaign. Bassford gave $4,750 to the governor, and his brother, David, a vice president of MoneyTree, contributed $3,500. Additionally, MoneyTree gave $5,000 to the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee and Dennis Bassford personally gave $3,000.” [AP, 3/20/03]

Claimed the Company Promoted Financial Literacy but He’s Foggy on the Details

  • Bassford Claimed His Company Promoted Financial Literacy But Couldn’t Elaborate When Pushed. “MoneyTree touts its efforts to promote financial literacy. Bassford says he sponsors a group of “students at the University of Washington who deliver financial literacy in schools.” He could not recall any other specific programs. “I’m not the right person to talk to about that,” he said. Asked whether he works to improve financial education among potential clients, he said, “We’re not conducting programs with our customers.”” [The Stranger, 12/28/06]

Contributed to Romney Super PAC Through an Intermediary Allowing it to Avoid Disclosure

  • Under Bassford, MoneyTree Contributed To Romney’s Super PAC Through Another Corporate Entity Allowing it To Avoid Disclosure. “Billionaire political patrons filled the coffers of the presidential “super PACs” last month, spotlighting once again the enormous influence a tiny cadre of wealthy donors is having on the 2012 race.The biggest donations came from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his family, who pumped an additional $5.5 million into the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future in February — 95% of the money the group raised, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission…All but one of the companies made the donations under their own names. But Seattle-based MoneyTree gave through a separate entity, Katsam LLC (misspelled as Katsum in the filing). Katsam is registered in Washington State to Dennis and David Bassford, MoneyTree’s co-founders. The FEC filing lists an address for Katsam that is the same as that of MoneyTree.MoneyTree did not respond to a request for comment.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/21/12]

Bassford Owns a Multi-million Dollar Mansion in a Private Forrest on an Island in Washington State

  • Bassford Owns Mansion On Mercer Island In Washington State Valued At $2.6 Million. [Property Records; Zillow]
    • Bassford Lives In A Multi-Million Dollar Mansion “Hidden in A Private Forest On Mercer Island.” “Dennis Bassford is the CEO of MoneyTree. He lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion hidden in a private forest on Mercer Island.” [John Burbank, Herald Of Everett, 2/28/13]
    • At The Time Of His 2003 Divorce, Bassford’s Mercer Island Home At The End Of A Gated, Private Drive Overlooking Lake Washington Was Valued At $3.5 Million. “Whether payday lending helps or hurts, it has made Bassford a rich man. At the time of Bassford’s 2003 divorce from Susan Denise Bassford, a payday lending mogul in her own right in California, his Mercer Island home at the end of a gated, private drive overlooking Lake Washington was valued at $3.5 million. During his five-year marriage to Susan Bassford, who kept her name after they parted ways, two stepchildren joined his family. He has no children of his own, and Susan took the family dog, Snoopy, back to California.” [Seattle Weekly, 3/11/08]
  • Bassford Owns A Home In Garden Valley, Idaho Valued At Over $150,000. [Property Records; Zillow]

During the past few election cycles, Andersen has contributed nearly $200,000 to the campaigns of Members of Congress and payday lending special interest PACs. [OpenSecrets.org, 10/8/14]

  • 2/1/2007 – $200 – Tim Johnson for South Dakota, Inc.
  • 2/1/2007 – $400 – Tim Johnson for South Dakota, Inc.
  • 3/1/2007 – $2100 – Romney for President, Inc.
  • 3/6/2007 – $2000 – Friends of Dennis Cardoza
  • 5/21/2007 – $2000 – Barney Frank for Congress Committee
  • 6/1/2007 – $1000 – Bachus for Congress Committee
  • 6/25/2007 – $750 – Maloney for Congress
  • 7/12/2007 – $5000 – Community Financial Services Association of America PAC
  • 7/18/2007 – $500 – Citizens for Rush
  • 7/20/2007 – $1000 – Friends of Dave Reichert
  • 8/30/2007 – $1000 – Adam Smith for Congress Committee
  • 9/19/2007 – $1000 – Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen
  • 9/27/2007 – $1000 – Our Congress PAC
  • 9/28/2007 – $2500 – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • 11/5/2007 – $1000 – Committee to Re-Elect Loretta Sanchez
  • 11/5/2007 – $1000 – Friends for Harry Reid
  • 3/19/2008 – $5000 – Community Financial Services Association of America PAC
  • 3/28/2008 – $400 – California Republican Party
  • 3/31/2008 – $1000 – Friends for Harry Reid
  • 4/8/2008 – $1000 – Montanans for Tester
  • 8/14/2008 – $1000 – Moderate Victory Fund
  • 9/3/2008 – $2500 – Financial Service Centers of America, Inc.
  • 9/19/2008 – $1000 – Jim Costa for Congress
  • 10/27/2008 – $1000 – Maloney for Congress
  • 10/29/2008 – $400 – California Vote Project 2008
  • 10/29/2008 – $1000 – Cathy McMorris for Congress
  • 3/17/2009 – $2500 – Community Financial Services Association of America PAC
  • 3/27/2009 – $2400 – People for Patty Murray
  • 3/31/2009 – $1000 – Friends of Dennis Cardoza
  • 4/6/2009 – $400 – Friends for Harry Reid
  • 4/6/2009 – $2400 – Friends for Harry Reid
  • 6/30/2009 – $1000 – Bill Foster for Congress Committee
  • 8/26/2009 – $1000 – Adam Smith for Congress Committee
  • 9/24/2009 – $2000 – Frank Kratovil for Congress
  • 10/5/2009 – $2400 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress
  • 10/19/2009 – $1000 – Toomey for Senate Committee
  • 12/28/2009 – $2000 – Conway for Senate
  • 12/30/2009 – $2000 – Heath Shuler for Congress
  • 12/31/2009 – $5000 – CMR PAC
  • 1/4/2010 – $2400 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress
  • 1/21/2010 – $2000 – Mike Ross for Congress Committee
  • 2/22/2010 – $2500 – Financial Service Centers of America, Inc.
  • 3/23/2010 – $5000 – Community Financial Services Association of America PAC
  • 3/29/2010 – $1000 – Friends of Doc Hastings
  • 3/31/2010 – $2400 – Benton for Senate
  • 6/11/2010 – $4800 – Rossi for Senate
  • 6/15/2010 – $2400 – Friends of Mike Lee, Inc.
  • 6/21/2010 – $1000 – Friends of Doc Hastings
  • 6/28/2010 – $2400 – Koster for Congress
  • 6/30/2010 – $1000 – Castillo for Congress
  • 6/30/2010 – $1000 – Matthew Burke for Congress
  • 7/28/2010 – $-2400 – Rossi for Senate
  • 7/28/2010 – $2400 – Rossi for Senate
  • 7/30/2010 – $5000 – Defend America PAC
  • 8/3/2010 – $2400 – Friends of Roy Blunt
  • 8/3/2010 – $2400 – Friends of Roy Blunt
  • 9/8/2010 – $2400 – Jaime for Congress
  • 9/29/2010 – $5000 – CMR PAC
  • 9/30/2010 – $1000 – Friends of Dave Reichert
  • 10/26/2010 – $2000 – Club for Growth Action
  • 10/30/2010 – $900 – Koster for Congress
  • 11/5/2010 – $1200 – Friends of Mike Lee, Inc.
  • 3/31/2011 – $500 – Friends of John Barrasso
  • 3/31/2011 – $2500 – Friends of John Barrasso
  • 4/20/2011 – $2100 – McHenry for Congress
  • 4/20/2011 – $2500 – McHenry for Congress
  • 5/26/2011 – $5000 – CMR PAC
  • 6/3/2011 – $2500 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress
  • 6/3/2011 – $2500 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress
  • 6/8/2011 – $2000 – Friends of Roy Blunt
  • 6/30/2011 – $2000 – Mike Crapo for US Senate
  • 8/17/2011 – $1000 – Friends of Doc Hastings
  • 10/20/2011 – $1000 – Friends of Dave Reichert
  • 12/14/2011 – $1000 – Linda Lingle Senate Committee
  • 3/7/2012 – $5000 – Romney for President, Inc.
  • 3/30/2012 – $1000 – National Republican Congressional Committee
  • 6/8/2012 – $1000 – Friends of Doc Hastings
  • 8/15/2012 – $5000 – National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • 9/11/2012 – $1250 – Koster for Congress
  • 9/11/2012 – $10000 – Washington State Republican Party
  • 9/21/2012 – $5000 – Republican State Leadership Committee
  • 9/28/2012 – $5000 – CMR PAC
  • 9/28/2012 – $2500 – Friends of John Boehner
  • 9/28/2012 – $1000 – Koster for Congress
  • 9/30/2012 – $2500 – National Republican Congressional Committee
  • 10/17/2012 – $2500 – Jaime for Congress
  • 10/19/2012 – $1000 – Ann Wagner for Congress
  • 3/29/2013 – $1000 – Friends of Jeb Hensarling
  • 7/15/2013 – $5000 – Community Financial Services Association of America PAC
  • 7/29/2013 – $2600 – Capito for West Virginia
  • 7/29/2013 – $2600 – McHenry for Congress
  • 8/5/2013 – $2600 – Country Roads PAC
  • TOTAL – $193,200

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