June 29, 2015

Meet The Lawyers Who Pushed The Supreme Court to Block Toxic Power Plant Rules

In the last announced decision of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court today, by a 5-4 vote and an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s carefully-crafted rules to limit the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from oil and coal power plants.

Justice Scalia concluded that the EPA failed to meet its duty to consider the financial costs of the regulations. But as Justice Elana Kagan documented in her dissent for four justices, Scalia failed to acknowledge that the agency did in fact repeatedly consider costs, and he essentially substituted five Justices’ expertise …

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June 10, 2015

Arne Duncan Transcript: Some For-Profit Colleges have “the ethics of payday lending”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell had a conference call for reporters to announce the Department’s plans to offer debt relief for students from the now-collapsed, predatory Corinthian Colleges. I offered some analysis that day about the announcement, but here’s the whole transcript. It contains some of the most emphatic statements ever from Duncan on the abuses of for-profit colleges — and the complicity of many Members of Congress. 


Press Call on Student Borrower Protections, Assistance

June 8, 2015

2 p.m. ET

Coordinator:          Welcome and thank you for standing by.

At this time, all participants will be on …

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June 8, 2015

Unveiling Student Debt Relief, Duncan Hits For-Profit College Industry and Its Friends in Congress

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just announced a debt relief package for students who attended schools run by now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. In doing so, Duncan sharply attacked for-profit colleges that have engaged in fraudulent acts, and he criticized members of Congress who have blocked reforms to hold the industry accountable.

Duncan said on a 2 pm ET Monday conference call, “You’d have to be made of stone not to feel for these students.”  He said that many of the students “ended up with huge debt, worthless degrees … if they got a degree at all.”

Using some of his toughest language to date regarding …Continue Reading »

May 29, 2015
Donald Graham

Scholarship Started by Donald Graham Sends Donor Money To Graham’s For-Profit College

The New York Post today reports on an astounding fact that has been in plain sight for more than a year: Washington business scion Donald Graham has co-founded a scholarship program for young immigrants that is sending some of its students, and donor dollars, to colleges owned by Donald Graham’s own for-profit company.

When I read this fact in February 2014 in the Washington Post, the newspaper formerly owned by Graham’s company, I was taken aback. It seemed like a clear conflict of interest. But then, there have been many troubling actions by the for-profit college industry, including by Graham Holdings’ for-profit college …

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May 27, 2015
Big Brown Power Plant operated by Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings.

Electric Utility Industry Created Their Own Air Pollution Permits, Held Private Meetings With Texas Regulators

Emails obtained and released today by the Environmental Integrity Project show that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) worked behind closed doors with the state’s electric power trade association and utility companies to weaken standards for air pollution control permits.

The emails and documents reveal that Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT) and utility employees held private meetings with state regulators to discuss revisions to the permits and provided language that was incorporated verbatim by the regulations into the final text of the revised permits. The language ended up nullifying the federal Clean Air Act hourly limits on particulate pollution during the …

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May 26, 2015

Corinthian CEO Led For-Profit College Industry PAC

An email newsletter obtained by Republic Report reveals that the political action committee of APSCU, the main lobbying group of for-profit colleges, was headed in 2012 by Jack Massimino, CEO of the now disgraced, bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. The newsletter also highlights the active involvement in APSCUPAC of other for-profit college executives whose companies are now under investigation — or have been penalized or shut down — by law enforcement.

The involvement of these executives and other information exposed in the newsletter add to the long list of reasons to doubt the credibility of APSCU, the prime mover of efforts to rid for-profit colleges …

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May 20, 2015

In Court, For-Profit Colleges Demand End to Gainful Employment Rule

The big for-profit colleges were back in court in Washington again this morning, arguing to a federal judge that the Obama Administration did not have the power to subject them to even the most minimal standards of accountability for leaving their students with overwhelming debt.

Despite the mountain of evidence that many for-profit colleges have engaged in predatory behavior by deceiving, under-educating, and overcharging students, despite the scores of lawsuits and investigations underway by federal and state law enforcement, these for-profit colleges are demanding permanent entitlement to billions annually from taxpayers without having to meet any real measures of success at all.

The issue …

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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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