Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hickey Sleeping with Hildebrand to Father Anti-Usury Initiative

While my comment section lights up with debate about whether Jeff Barth agrees with us on enough policies to chair the South Dakota Democratic Party, Republican Rep. Steve Hickey announces he's teaming with Democratic consultant and über-barista Steve Hildebrand to put a payday loan interest cap on the ballot:

Though they disagree on issues like same-sex marriage, they do agree on one thing: payday loans exploit South Dakota’s poor and elderly.

“We are planning, and have been planning, to bring this thing to the ballot in 2016,” Hickey said. “The polls are on our side, the people in South Dakota understand that 36 percent is enough interest rate for a person to make some money” [Todd Epp, "Hickey, Hildebrand Form Group to Put Payday Loan Interest Cap on Ballot," Northern Plains News, 2014.11.26].

Rep. Hickey got burned by the payday lenders last session, when the usury industry betrayed him on viable compromise legislation that the industry recommended to check abuse of consumers. Rep. Hickey is now following up on the initiative vow he made last winter to subject the payday lenders to the rate-capping wrath of the voters, and he's getting Steve Hildebrand to help bring the fight.

Hickey and Hildebrand are one of the oddest South Dakota couples we could cobble together. They disagree vehemently over social issues. But if they birth this rate-cap initiative, they could model for us all how South Dakotans can work around their radically different views to identify common goals and produce practical solutions.


  1. Tim 2014.11.27

    I would have to see the complete legislation before jumping to any conclusions on Rep Hickey.

  2. Catherine Ratliff 2014.11.27

    PayDay loans are from the Devil. I'll circulate petitions to cap interest.

  3. Donald Pay 2014.11.27

    Well, of course you would want to see the complete legislation, but this is one issue where people with varying political philosophies might be able to come up with something that would benefit the common folks. I'd say 36 percent is too high, but throw in some other consumer protections and you've got yourself an initiative that can't lose.

  4. Tim 2014.11.27

    Donald, I would support this type of a push to reign in predatory loan practices and interest rates. I question Hickey's motives and what he wants in return. Lets face it, state republicans don't have a very good track record on standing up for the little guy in SD. Maybe Rep Hickey is turning over a new leaf, or maybe he is pissed because the industry stuffed him last year, either way, if good legislation comes out of it then maybe I'm wrong about Rep Hickey.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.27

    Catherine, I don't believe in the devil, but I'm with you and Steve and Steve.

    Tim, Hickey was putting together an initiative in 2013 to cap annual interest rates at 36%. He shelved that measure when the payday lenders signaled they would be open to the legislative compromise that they then lobbied against in the 2014 session. See Hickey's 2013 initiative proposal here:

  6. Tim 2014.11.27

    Wish I could find a bank willing to pay me 36% on my money.

  7. Flipper 2014.11.27

    Bravo gentlemen! If Hildebrand can look past the vile comments Hickey made about same-sex couples in the past year, I can too. BTW, I love the headline Cory!

  8. Richard Schriever 2014.11.27

    Tim, invest in a payday lender.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.27

    Is Steve Hickey the South Dakota equivalent of Elizabeth Warren?
    Perhaps the two Steve's could consult her on Hickey's proposed legislation.

  10. mike from iowa 2014.11.27

    For what earthly purpose are loan sharks allowed to prey on the poor,the not too smart,those in a bind?

  11. Douglas Wiken 2014.11.27

    And why are businesses allowed to set up interest-free loans that they intentionally foul up the payment dates and then stick the borrower with accumulated interest and fees on the final payment? The banks are often behind the payday loan ripoffs.

  12. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.27

    I fully support this idea, unless there is some unknown sneakiness going on. I doubt that however. And 36% is too high, but it's a good starting point that should only move one direction - down.

    Big banks are the financiers, if not owners, of payday lenders. The slimy Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase and others love the payday scam. Elizabeth Warren would be an excellent resource for information about how to structure such a law to be truly effective.

    I give Hickey credit for this. Like many evangelicals, he hangs on to some parts of the Bible very tightly, while having a very loose grip on others. But I'll take this. It's not a time to argue for consistency. I'm sure the folks struggling with ruination at the hands of payday lenders are not concerned with his abysmal record on other issues.

  13. MJL 2014.11.28

    This is what good politics should be: working on issues and not letting a label determine your position. Why is Washington so fractured? It is because Republicans refuse to work with the other side even on issues that they believe. I say, bravo to Hickey and Hildebrand. I may not agree with many of Hickey's statements and ideas, but that doesn't mean I won't support his cause when I do agree with his ideas.

  14. Bob Klein 2014.11.28

    If Hilde' ends up putting his name on an initiative, I can count on it being a sound proposal.

    Where do we sign?

  15. Jana 2014.11.29

    Interesting debate over at the SDWC. Troy asks the question

    "There is though a divide between conservatives and liberals on what another person is due from society and that is the argument (an argument which is legitimate)."

    Bring the debate over here Troy, and in your above question...switch out the word 'person' and replace it with 'business.' Could be fun.

  16. Jana 2014.11.29

    Sorry, Troy wasn't asking a question, he was making a statement.

  17. Jana 2014.11.29

    The best part is that the War College faithful are challenging Troy's intellect, Pastor Steve's faith filled beliefs and the Pope's moral compass.

    Hilarity ensues.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    Bob, I would hope those petitions would be circulating by springtime.

    Jana, I appreciate the fact that Troy at least provides some original, thoughtful material on DWC. He should stage a blog coup and send Powers into exile.

  19. larry kurtz 2014.11.30

    Troy is no less a blockhead than Pat.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.11.30

    There are few less intellectually and ethically confused than Steve Hickey.

  21. larry kurtz 2014.11.30

    Hickey's quest to remake his legacy before he dies is merely a Deadeye mind trick to get square with his creator.

Comments are closed.