The for-profit higher education industry, known as subprime schools for their rampant abuses and systematic fraud, is fighting back aggressively against proposed regulations from the Department of Education. The rules call for schools to show that a higher percentage of their students actually gain employment after graduation in order for for-profit school companies to qualify for taxpayer money. As we have reported extensively, subprime colleges have hired an army of lobbyists and have declared “war” against reform advocates.
House Education Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has been the industry’s best friend. Kline repeatedly slipped provisions into House spending bills to restrict the Department of Education from implementing more oversight over subprime schools. Kline pushed the effort, essentially a bailout to a multi-billion dollar industry that receives ninety percent of its money from the government, while industry lobbyists astroturfed support on Capitol Hill.
With the release of first quarter campaign donations, an examination of Federal Elections Commission disclosures by the Wonk Room has found that Kline received nearly $50,000 from for-profit colleges so far this year. Notably, on March 15, 2011, two days before the House passed his amendment against the Department of Education, Kline received $21,200 from the same companies:
Mark Perry, President of San Joaquin Valley College: $2,500 on 03/15/2011.
Rex D Spaulding is President of North American Trade Schools Inc: $1,000 of 03/15/2011.
Alva R Sullivan is President And CEO of Sullivan University: $2,400 on 03/15/2011.
Robert F Herzog is VP at IN Business College: $1,000 on 03/15/2011.
Daniel M Hamburger is CEO at DeVry Inc: $1,000 on 03/15/2011.
Lawrence D Earle is CEO of Carrer Point College: $1,000 on 03/15/2011.
Corinthian Colleges Inc. PAC: $4,000 donation to Kline for Congress on 3/15/2011.
Education Management Corp PAC: $2,500 on 03/15/2011.
NELNET Higher Education Access PAC: $2,400 on 03/15/2011.
Westwood College Fund: $1,000 on 03/15/2011
Duncan M Anderson, CEO of Education Affiliates Inc: $2,400 on 03/15/2011.
Kline, who received another $100,000 from the industry last year, also hosted a brazen fundraiser with subprime college lobbyists on March 8th. That means for two straight weeks, industry lobbyists funneled cash to Kline so he could help them drain more taxpayer money without properly educating their students.
This morning, the Justice Department announced that it is joining a whistle-blower lawsuit against Kline donor Education Management Corporation (EDMC), a for-profit college company owned partially by Goldman Sachs. The company, which owns the Art Institutes and other private colleges, has been accused of defrauding students in several states.
Former ThinkProgress intern Paul Breer contributed valuable research for this post.