Once Again, Garrett Dodges Questions and Refuses to Take Responsibility
Scott Garrett is once again under fire, this time for potentially violating ethics rules and criminal law.
Yesterday, the Campaign for Accountability filed an ethics complaint asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Garrett “violated House rules and criminal law by accepting campaign contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry.”
What has been Garrett’s response to all of this so far? According to a recent news story, Garrett’s office “did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
“Scott Garrett owes New Jersey voters an answer for why he has the backs of payday lenders rather than New Jersey's struggling families,” said John Currie, the Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. “But once again, when confronted with bad news, Garrett cannot or will not explain what he's done. It's this kind of behavior that explains why Northern New Jersey is tiring of him, and ready for new representation.”
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there have been 112 consumer complaints issued against payday lenders in New Jersey, including in the New Jersey 5th congressional district, since December 2013.
Complaint alleges Rep. Scott Garrett, others helped payday loan industry prior to campaign donations
BY HERB JACKSON
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT | THE RECORD
Rep. Scott Garrett is one of 11 House members cited in an ethics complaint filed Monday by a watchdog group that accuses lawmakers of taking actions to protect the payday loan industry around the time they received campaign contributions.
The complaint by the Campaign for Accountability asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Garrett and 10 others, including two Democrats and several members who like Garrett are senior members of the House Financial Services Committee.
The group’s complaint, filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, requests an investigation into whether the House members “violated House rules and criminal law.” The office will decide privately whether to conduct an investigation and will not have to reveal any decisions or actions for several months.
The complaint against Garrett focuses on $3,500 in contributions he received between 2011 and 2013, a time when his campaign account raised at least $3.1 million, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission. In both years, the contributions were within weeks of an official act he took that would have protected payday lenders from government scrutiny.
A spokesman for Garrett, a Republican from Sussex County whose district is dominated by Bergen County voters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.