Wolves, payday lenders, Rawle and Swallow

Grey_WolfWhat do wolves, payday lenders, Blue Dogs, Richard Rawle, John Swallow and Jeremy Johnson  have in common? A DC lobbyist, that’s what.

Tim Rupli is a well-paid DC lobbyist whose #1 client is the “Community Financial Services Association” – payday lenders. They paid him a cool million dollars last year.

He was also hired by Rep. Heath Shuler to resurrect the Blue Dog caucus in the 2012 cycle. An article in early 2011 says this about Rupli and Shuler:

Who is the host, Tim Rupli? According to House Lobbying disclosures, he appears to be a lobbyist for a variety of interests, including Numbers USA (an anti-immigration pressure group), PharmAthene (pushing hard in public relations and in court for government contracts to supply anthrax vaccines), Lasershot (seeking contracts for the use of video games to train soldiers in combat), and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and four other alternative banking interests (pushing for weaker consumer protections on gift cards and deregulation of payday loan operations).

Shuler has used the services of corporate lobbyist Tim Rupli to rake in campaign money before. At the end of this weekend, Shuler and his Blue Dog Coalition will be indebted to Rupli all the more.

Just in case you were wondering why Tim Rupli might be interested in Heath Shuler, consult this Senate lobbying report covering Rupli’s activities in 2009. It seems that Tim Rupli has been lobbying hard on Heath Shuler’s bill of last year, H.R. 2563: the Payday Lending Reform Act, which would establish the terms for regulation of the financial operations Rupli is paid to represent.

The late Richard Rawle, a hunting buddy of Don Peay, co-founder of Big Game Forever, was the one who hired Rupli to help clear Jeremy Johnson. A Salt Lake Tribune article from January 27, 2013 outlines the arrangement between Rawle and Rupli:

Rawle said, in a statement signed just three days before his Dec. 8 death, that of the $250,000 I Works provided to RMR, he “wired $100,000 to lobbyists and asked them to go to work” to help Johnson fend off the Federal Trade Commission investigation into I Works.


Subsequently, attorney Sam Alba — who represents RMR, Check City and the Rawle family — issued a statement saying $50,000 of that money was paid to T.R. Rupli & Associates, a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm. Alba has not answered two subsequent emails seeking more information.


Rupli & Associates owner Tim Rupli said he typically builds a case for clients with members of Congress about the worth of a product or industry and then persuades them to contact an agency or congressional committee chair to discuss the issue.

So what does this all have to do with wolves? Well, Tim Rupli is ALSO listed as the lobbyist hired to keep wolves out of Utah – at cost of $300 grand to Utah taxpayers.

The 2012 proposal says:

Big Game Forever also works extensively with several professional advisors on the wolf-delisting effort. Tim Rupli is Big Game Forever’s professional lobbyist in Washington D.C. on the wolf-delisting effort. Mr. Rupli has worked in Washington D.C. since 1992 as a registered lobbyist, successfully representing many clients in our nation’s capitol.

While I favor delisting wolves, I have to ask: Is this really a path we want to go down? Handing out hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, with little to no oversight, to a group with ties into the whole Swallow-Rawle-Jeremy Johnson mess?

I think not.


  1. Desertbound says:

    If the Governor has an ounce of political smarts, he’ll nix this one. Of course that may be a big ‘if.’

  2. Tod Young says:

    Accountability. “Oversight.” Why are these things missing from this ‘gift’ to the same people who have previously received the same amount – also without accountability or oversight.
    Yet, these same legislators froth at the mouth about the need for accountability and oversight of public education. Wolves, in deed.

  3. Seems like 2015 needs an update since this is clearly still going on.


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