Financial regulators and Antifa leaders might seem like strange bedfellows, but it seems the creators of the Payday lending regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) had a prominent Antifa member’s advice in mind while designing these now defunct regulations.
Joseph Alcoff, a leader of the Antifa group Smash Racism D.C. (the group that maliciously stormed Tucker Carlson’s residence and harassed Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife out of a D.C. restaurant) was arrested recently in Philadelphia for aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. This is not Alcoff’s first offense; he has a long history of violence. So it should surprises some to know that while he was leading a militant organization, he was also doubling as the spokesperson for Americans for Financial Reform (AFR).
Alcoff served as the communications director at the notoriously left leaning AFR. During his tenure at the organization, Alcoff aided in multiple congressional Democratic press conferences and was even a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast, where he criticized the state of the CFPB under the Trump Administration. Alcoff also released a statement regarding the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, which attempted to bolster regulations on Payday lenders.
Alcoff’s attempts to target Payday lending did not stop there. He personally met with former CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other CFPB senior staff on three separate occasions in 2016 and 2017, during the height of the Payday regulation debates.
All the while Alcoff continued to make threats against political leaders, commit violence against innocent bystanders, and regularly call for the overthrow of capitalism on his social media channels. Somehow, these attacks on many Trump supporters never made the news until recently, unlike the recent Jussie Smollett’s alleged hoax anti-gay hate crime that outwardly accused Trump supporters of hate crimes without any real evidence.
Fortunately, AFR publicly stated that Alcoff is no longer with the organization, and his work in drafting policies and regulations with the potential to harm millions of consumers and small businesses is slowly unraveling. The CFPB announced earlier in February that the bureau is implementing a plan to rescind the harmful Payday loan regulations that were created with Alcoff’s assistance.
Eliminating these regulations as part of “Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans” is a win for both consumers and small businesses. These regulations would have most certainly decimated the entire Payday loan industry, hurting thousands of individuals who rely on short-term loans.
Contrary to the Alcoff’s beliefs that Payday loans merely force “Americans [into] a cycle of debt,” the loans are remarkably simple. Borrowers must prove they have an active income, a checking account, a government-issued ID, and only then can they obtain a short-term loan for a nominal fee of roughly $15 for every $100 borrowed.
Alcoff’s intentions to destroy the Payday loan industry could have forced a family to choose between paying bills and putting food on the table. One survey found that nearly 60 percent of Americans do not have enough cash to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Payday loans prevent borrowers who have taken a financial hit into choosing between two necessities. Rather, they have the ability to cover both with access to simple short-term loan options.
Alcoff’s successful infiltration of a government agency that could have wiped out an entire industry should infuriate policymakers and the public alike. His public agenda to end Payday loans while secretly leading an organization that is known for its extreme violence should make both Democrats and Republicans question their allegiance to AFR, which propped Alcoff up as its spokesperson. Violent extremists should not get to dictate policies that affect every day Americans. Luckily, with Alcoff’s influence out of the picture, it looks like the CFPB is back on the right track.