Struggling Wisconsin Families Can’t Afford More of
the Same Special Interest Pandering from John Gard

MADISON – While Congressman Steve Kagen was fighting to pass the bipartisan Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights, John Gard has been busy tapping banking and credit card companies for over $66,000 in political campaign cash – the same banking interests he voted to deregulate while serving in the Legislature.

"With our national economy in turmoil, northeast Wisconsin cannot afford a career politician like John Gard, who cozies up to special interests and succumbs to his own greed, while leaving consumers in the dust,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke. “While John Gard has taken over $66,000 from the banking interests he voted to deregulate, Dr. Kagen has stood up against the special interests and helped pass the bipartisan Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights yesterday.”

 Gard: Beholden to Banking Interests

  • In 1993, Gard voted to allow banks and credit card companies to charge higher fees. The bill increased the cap on credit card late fees from $2 to $10, increased the cap on cash advances from $2 to $5-per-advance, allowed lenders to charge up to $15-per-billing cycle for exceeding credit limits and increased the cap on fees for overdrawn checks from $10- to $15-per-check. (Sources: Bill Text, SB 316, May 25, 1993; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10.10.93; Wisconsin State Journal, 6.15.93)  

  • John Gard has taken $66,250 from commercial banking interests since running for Congress. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 9.23,08)

Kagen: Fighting for Credit Cardholders’ Rights

  • The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Congressman Kagen voted for Tuesday (HR 5244) will end several abusive practices by credit card companies:

o    Protects against arbitrary rate increases by requiring card companies to give cardholders 45 days notice of any interest rate increases.

o    Prevents card companies from retroactively increasing interest rates on the existing balance of a cardholder unless the cardholder is more than 30 days late.

o    Prohibits card companies from charging interest on debt that is paid on time during a grace period.

o    Curbs excessive fees and prohibits knowingly issuing cards to minors. 

  • Credit-card debt in America has soared to a record high of nearly $1 trillion. (Source: New York Times, 3.10.08)

  • The average American household's debt from credit cards has risen from $2,966 in 1990 to $9,840 in 2007. (Source: Parade, 9.23.08)