February 3, 2016

Dear God Do Not Leave America Alone with Ted Cruz

Apparently 27.6 percent of Iowa Republican caucus goers — 51,666 people — think Senator Ted Cruz of Texas should be President of the United States. That made him the biggest winner coming out of Iowa, heading into the crucial New Hampshire primary.

Heaven help us if Ted Cruz becomes President. I’m not referring to his policy views, although I find those extreme and disturbing. I’m not even referring, really, to his aggressive embrace of a no-compromise approach to politics, which has alienated him from nearly every United States Senator, Republican and Democrat.

I’m focused on something else. There is …

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October 22, 2015

McCain, Alexander Press DoD To Back Off Probe of U. of Phoenix, Their Donor

Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Jeff Flake (AZ), and Lamar Alexander (TN) wrote today to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter calling on him to “reconsider” the Department’s decision to put the largest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix, on probation for alleged violations in recruiting U.S. military service members.

All three Senators have received significant campaign contributions from officials of Apollo Education Group, the owner of the University of Phoenix; the company is the largest donor in the 2016 election cycle to both Flake and Alexander, who is chair of the Senate committee overseeing education policy. Alexander received

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October 12, 2015

Group Holding Bipartisan Presidential Debate Today is Dominated by Corporate Lobbyists

The non-profit group No Labels held an unusual candidate forum this morning in New Hampshire. The “No Labels Problem Solver Convention” featured five Republicans plus three Democrats — including Donald Trump, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley — all at the same event.

No Labels has been organizing on the ground in primary states, and the group’s pitch is appealing: putting America’s progress ahead of partisanship. It’s true — with a closely divided electorate, we can’t get things done without bipartisan cooperation. This morning, No Labels co-chair Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R), the former Utah governor, explained the group’s viewpoint …

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September 23, 2015

For-Profit College Lobbyist Explains Decades of Fraud as Humanitarian Mission

A Politico profile of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quotes just two commenters regarding the Obama Administration’s effort to curb abuses by for-profit colleges, and both of them have been long-time lobbyists for the industry: bulldog lawyer Lanny Davis and former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), who heads the industry’s main trade group, APSCU.  Only Duncan is quoted defending Duncan, but the two lobbyists are given ample space to offer some of the most self-serving and misleading accounts imaginable about the controversy.

Gunderson, according to the piece, “admits [for-profit colleges] enrolled too many unqualified applicants who ended up defaulting on federal loans.” …

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July 8, 2015
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GOP Candidates Compete In For-Profit College Primary

As the 2012 GOP nomination contest neared the critical Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney was asked by the Ames (Iowa) Tribune editorial board what he planned to do about higher education. Romney’s response (VIDEO) was crystal clear: He liked for-profit colleges, especially a Florida school called Full Sail University.  It turned out that Full Sail’s owners were among Romney’s top donors.

And that, it seemed, was the point: Although other GOP candidates that year, including Newt Gingrich, had personal and financial ties to the wealthy for-profit college industry, Romney, who denounced Obama Administration efforts to curb industry abuses, won that year’s for-profit …

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May 12, 2015

Jeb Bush Campaign Adviser Serves on Board of Predatory College ITT

Former Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) is an advisor to the unofficial presidential campaign of Jeb Bush, as both Weber and the Bush camp have confirmed. Weber recently told Fox News, “I think that Governor Bush is right on track in terms of how he’s been thinking about this potential race and when he needs to get into it and what needs to happen.”

But Weber is much more than a Bush campaign advisor. He’s a lobbyist who has pressed his former colleagues in Congress on behalf of clients like AT&T, the pharmaceutical trade association PHRMA, student loan giant Sallie Mae, and …

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November 10, 2014

Unlike Corporations and Millionaires, Unions Disclose Midterms Dark Money

Not all dark money is the same. Unlike corporations and individuals, organized labor is forced to play by a different set of rules.

In the very dark election of 2014, voters still have no clue about who paid for a significant portion of the election efforts propping up a whole new Congress. Many donors hid behind 501c non-profit shells to conceal their identity, while spending millions of dollars to influence the outcome through advertising and get-out-the-vote programs.

We may never know the names of the men, women, and corporations that funded the 2014 election. However, we do know some of the unions.

Many unions …

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October 27, 2014

2014 Campaign Shows Growing Public Disdain for Predatory For-Profit Colleges

In the 2o12 election campaign, when a reporter asked GOP candidate Mitt Romney what he planned to do about higher education and college affordability, Romney praised for-profit colleges, and particularly one school, Florida’s Full Sail University, for its ability to “hold down the cost of their education.” It was eventually exposed that: (1) Full Sail was perhaps the third most expensive college in America, (2) Full Sail’s owners were heavy contributors to the Romney campaign, and (3) Romney’s own private equity firm was actually invested in Full Sail.  But whatever Romney’s motives in singling out this sector, it was notable that …

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