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Political Consultants Screwed Up,|Payday Loan Defenders Say

COLUMBUS, OHIO (CN) - A group that opposes a state law that reduced interest charges on short-term "payday loans" from 391% to 28% has sued the California political consultants it hired to collect signatures for a referendum. The Reject HB 545 Committee says Arno Political Consultants failed to register properly in Ohio, invalidating 85,000 signatures despite collecting $439,000 in fees.

Ohio enacted HB 545 in June. Previously, payday lenders could charge $15 per $100 loaned on 2-week loans - an annual percentage rate of 391%. HB 545 capped interest at 28%, reduced the maximum payday loan from $800 to $500, and extended the payment period from 14 to 31 days.

The Reject HB 545 Committee hired the Rancho Cordova, Calif.-based company to collect signatures to get a referendum overturning the bill on the ballot. The committee says Arno screwed up its paperwork, or failed to submit it, invalidating 85,000 signatures, and costing the committee the $439,000 it paid.

The Reject HB 545 Committee claims the bill will cost Ohio jobs.

The committee is represented in Franklin County Court by William Todd with Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan.

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