Moments ago, during Robert Ashley's show on KHVN-AM, an ad ran attacking mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings and his ties to Ace Cash Express -- though it never mentions Rawlings by name. The speaker: none other than Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway, who is supporting legislative efforts to exclude payday lenders as credit service organizations and who has endorsed fellow council member Ron Natinsky both at a press conference in front of Dallas City Hall and in an editorial in this week's issue of The Dallas Weekly, in which the mayor wrote that "Ron understands the predatory impact of pay-day lending operations."
, which includes throughout the ka-ching of cash registers that doesn't translate well to transcript:
"I thought payday lending was the topic. I thought payday lending was the topic. This is Dwaine Caraway setting the record straight about payday loans. The mayor's race is coming up. There's one candidate in the race that sat on the board of directors of Ace Cash Express from 2000 to 2006. You're received a lot of mail, you've seen a lot of television, you've seen a lot of signs, you've heard a lot of endorsements. I thought this was about payday loans. How can we support the payday loan king for mayor of this city when it is the very thing that we're working so hard against?
Political ad paid for by Dwaine Caraway Campaign."
I've left a message on Rawlings's cell, and I'm attempting to reach Caraway as well. There's said to be a second version of the ad in which Caraway names Rawlings. But as Sam wrote in last week's cover story, in 2004 ...
Rawlings became a full-time partner at CIC Partners, a spin-off of Cardinal Investment Co. Cardinal had at one time invested in Ace Cash Express, which provides check cashing and payday loans. Several council members and state legislators have pushed for restrictions on companies like Ace, which they believe prey on lower-income families. While Rawlings served on Ace's board starting in 2000, he points out that he never invested any of his own money in the company and sold the shares he received as a director in 2006.
Update at 1:15 p.m.: Caraway talks about the rationale behind the ads in a brief Q&A with Unfair Park that follows.
Update at 1:47 p.m.: Rawlings called to say he'll have a comment later today, after he's had a chance to hear the ad for himself. And he's got meetings. So expect a separate item later today.
Update at 5:47 p.m.: My interview with Rawlings can be found here.
Why take out the ad?
Payday loans have been such a hot topic aroud here, and we've gotten to the point where we've even had council member [Jerry] Allen go to Austin to speak with the legislators about regulations. There's been so much concern about 'em, and you would think that it'd be a little difficult to digest the fact we're ingratiating the very thing we fought so hard against. My thing is we have to take a position: Either we're for it or we're against it.
You've endorsed Natinsky several times. Why did you feel it necessary as mayor to use your campaign funds to pay for this ad right now?
Here's the deal: I represent the constituents of this city, and I represent not just my district but the constituents of this city. It is a responsibility of mine to make sure the facts are out there. Notice I did not say, "Vote for Ron." That's simply factual information that should be part of the debate. ... Regardless of when a person stepped aside, once you create the child, the child belongs to you.
Is there more than one ad?
How many more?
Oh, I don't know.
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SHOW ME HOW
Do you mention Rawlings by name in the others?
Did Natinsky know you were doing this beforehand?
I don't care who knows what. I don't care who knows. If I cared I wouldn't have made the commercial. I don't know what he knew. I know the facts.