March 3, 2014
Image: Bob Kerrey

Bob Kerrey To Keynote Meeting of For-Profit Colleges Charged With Abusing Vets

Former U.S. senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) will give keynote remarks at this spring’s annual convention of the for-profit college trade association, APSCU, in Las Vegas. It’s not really a surprise, since Kerrey recently co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing against new federal rules to hold the troubled for-profit college industry accountable. But it’s a shame.

Kerry, a 1992 candidate for president who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave acts as a Navy Seal in Vietnam, has chosen to back an industry that has many big players who are systematically abusing students, notably our …

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February 25, 2014

Governors’ Coastal Drilling Coalition Tied to Oil Lobbying Firm, Metadata Reveals

Since 2011, a group of governors have sought to expand coast oil and gas drilling through an organization called the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. On Monday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) became the first Democrat to join the effort, which includes Republican governors from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) is the current chair of the OCS Governors Coalition.

The organization claims that it is merely seeking new revenues for state governments. New revenues from oil and gas exploration “can help state and local governments fund coastal conservation and hurricane protection …

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February 24, 2014

Bob Barr’s Missing Résumé

Former Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), a central figure in the Clinton impeachment inquiry, is seeking to return to Congress. But left unsaid in his official campaign biography for the open 11th district in Georgia is a private-sector career filled with work for the lobbying industry and for causes that run counter to Barr’s political persona.

On his campaign website, Barr says he is “Chairman of Liberty Guard, Inc. a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting individual liberty; and also heads a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies, Inc.”

Here’s what he left out:

– Dezenhall Resources. Barr is a consultant to Dezenhall Resources, a controversial …

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February 22, 2014

WOW: You Won’t Believe What This For-Profit College Lobbyist Just Said (and Did)!

Steve Gunderson, the former congressman (R-WI) who heads APSCU, the lobbying group for America’s for-profit colleges, seems to be getting desperate. The industry he represents is seeking once again to block the Obama Administration from issuing a “gainful employment” rule that would, eventually, cut off federal student aid to career training schools that consistently leave their students with overwhelming debt.

But in contrast to the last time this fight occurred, in 2010-11, in this round the dispute is taking place against the backdrop of mounting law enforcement investigations and whistleblower lawsuits against the industry, greater public awareness of …

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February 10, 2014
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Embattled For-Profit College EDMC Enlists Students As Lobbyists

The second largest for-profit college company, Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporation (EDMC), is facing severe challenges. The company, 41 percent owned by Goldman Sachs, held a conference call for investors last week, and the data was not good — enrollment and revenue remain down. Market analyst reaction was lukewarm at best, and the company’s stock price plunged yet again. Edward West, EDMC’s CEO, admitted in a letter to employees, “I think we would all agree the results are not where we want them to be.”

West’s letter to his workers did not mention that EDMC — whose students have for …

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February 4, 2014
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Breaking For-Profit College News: VA Shopping Tool, Coalition Letter, Andrews Quitting

Developments are happening at lightning speed on for-profit college issues.

This morning:

1. The Department of Veterans affairs launched a new website, the GI Bill Comparison Tool, allowing vets, and to some extent other students, to compare college options. The initiative is part of action on President Obama’s 2012 executive order to protect vets and current service members against predatory education practices, an order that the for-profit colleges’ trade association, APSCU, called a “deeply unfortunate development.”  The site is still missing some information as to some colleges, but it has a lot of useful material for prospective students — for-profit colleges are …

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January 18, 2014
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Media for Sale: Coal Lobby Buys Politico, Real Clear Politics Events

Last week, the political news website Real Clear Politics hosted a Washington DC event (video) targeted at an elite media and policy audience. Held at the gleaming Newseum, site of many such events, it was entitled, ”U.S. Energy Policy: The Road Ahead,” and appeared to be a genuine policy discussion. It was, in fact, an infomercial.

The event was sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a major trade organization for the U.S. coal industry. ACCCE was paying to have an energy discussion before journalists and policymakers – and for the opportunity to have ACCCE’s CEO Mike Duncan …

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January 14, 2014

President Obama’s Chemical Safety Panel Must Heed Senator Obama’s Warnings

In the wake of the April 2103 West, Texas, chemical plant explosion, which killed 15 people and injured 160 more, President Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies to improve the safety of our industrial chemical plants.  Right now, a working group of federal officials is conducting “listening sessions” around the country to hear from the public on these issues. I spoke at one of these meetings in Washington DC today, before a panel chaired by David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA). Here’s what I said:

Members of the Working Group, …

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