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Sen. Garagiola Put Special Interest Before Maryland Families

Monday, March 19, 2012

Garagiola sided with credit card companies by killing legislation to protect middle class families from retroactive rate hikes 

Rob Garagiola and the special interests made sure credit card reform didn’t happen in Maryland. They did so despite the fact that President Obama, Sen. Cardin, Sen. Mikulski[1], and 136 members of the Maryland House of Delegates all agreed something had to be done. Credit card companies were retroactively raising interest rates on consumers who were paying their bills on time. Legislation was introduced at the state level to stop the practice, but Garagiola played a key role in ensuring that it never even came to a vote.

In 2009, after the Maryland House of Delegates voted136-1[2] on HB 1048, which would have prevented credit card companies from retroactively increasing interest rates, Rob Garagiola then killed the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, giving it an unfavorable rating.[3]

“Rob Garagiola had a chance to do the right thing by middle class families, instead he sided with the special interests and credit card companies,” said Delaney campaign manager Justin Schall. “As a lobbyist turned political insider, it isn’t surprising that Garagiola killed common sense legislation, but it is still disappointing.”

Thanks to Garagiola’s efforts, the bill never advanced to a Senate floor vote. At the time, credit card companies were rapidly increasing interest rates on their customers – regardless of credit history – to accommodate for the economic crash in 2008.[4] Because this legislation failed Marylanders went an extra year without protection until federal legislation went into effect.[5]

Garagiola justified his anti-consumer vote using the arguments put forth by the Maryland Bankers Association.[6] Since 2004, the MBA has given Garagiola $11,500, making Garagiola their fourth-most donated-to candidate.[7]

No wonder the Washington Post noted in their endorsement of John Delaney that “Mr. Garagiola is widely regarded as in thrall to Maryland’s lobbyists, who have bankrolled his campaign.”[8]

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Paid for by Friends of John Delaney

 

[1] “H.R. 627 Roll Call Votes,” United States Senate, 5/19/2009

[2] HB 1048, 2009.

[3] HB 1048, 2009; Maryland Politics Watch, 4/30/09.

[4] BofA to Boost Rates on Cards With Balances, WSJ, 4/9/2009.

[5] “Legislation Targets Retroactive Rate Changes on Credit Cards,” Washington Post, 3/22/09.

[6] “Garagiola on Bill Frick’s Credit Card Bill,” Maryland Politics Watch, 4/30/2009.

[7] FollowTheMoney, MBA top contributions.

[8] “John Delaney for Md.’s 6th District,” Editorial, Washington Post, 3/10/2012

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