Progressive groups want Senators on the education committee to recuse themselves if they got campaign contributions from Betsy DeVos, the nominee for the education department post.
End Citizens United (ECU) and a group known as Every Voice, want the Senators who have gotten funds from DeVos to not vote for or against her nomination to run the Department of Education. Those senators include GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (LA), Tim Scott (SC), Todd Young (IN), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Richard Burr (NC). The nomination hearing will be held Tuesday.
Adam Bozzi of ECU said his group has run ads about these senators in Washington, D.C. and in their home states, reports The Hill. Bozzi added that ECU has received some 23,000 petitions that will be delivered to the senators’ offices.
Constitutionalists, hoping ultimately to see the federal department of education dismantled, have raised concerns about DeVos’ support and funding for pro-Common Core organizations. They, too, are apprehensive about her influence over senators to whom she has contributed.
A review of DeVos’ financial disclosures during the past five years shows that “her ethics challenges are less likely (at least so far) in personally benefitting from government favors, but from her pre-existing influence over the Senate that has to confirm her,” said Joy Pullmann, author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids. Pullmann is the managing editor at The Federalist.
The nominee has donated “tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of senators who now are supposed to review her fitness for public office,” Pullmann wrote.
According to the disclosures, billionaire DeVos contributed $7,800 to Cassidy, $5,400 to Murkowski, $5,400 to Young, $7,400 to Scott, and $5,400 to Burr.
Politico reports that the “grand total” of DeVos’ political contributions during the past five years is “just under $5.3 million.”
DeVos’ financial affidavit shows she has also donated to the following campaigns:
- Cory Gardner for Senate: $5,200
- Cotton for Senate: $5,200;
- Friends of Pat Toomey: $5,400
- Grassley Hawkeye Fund: $5,400
- John Kennedy for US Senate: $2,700
- John McCain for Senate: $1,000
- Joni for Iowa: $2,600
- Kasich for America: $2,700
- Kirk for Senate: $5,400
- Marco Rubio for US Senate: $5,400
- McConnell Senate Committee ’14: $2,600
- National Republican Senate Committee: $114,200
- Perdue for Senate: $2,600
- Portman for Senate Committee: $5,400
- Ron Johnson for Senate: $5,400
- Rounds for Senate: $5,200
- Roy Blunt for Senate: $2,700
- Senate Republican Campaign Committee: $160,000
- Steve Daines for Montana: $5,200
- Sullivan for US Senate: $2,600
- Thom Tillis for Senate: $5,200
“Given all the DeVos money floating around Washington, how likely are Republican senators to ask her some fair but critical questions about a woman who would oversee some $70 billion in annual public funding and 5,000 public employees?” asks Pullmann.
The Hill reports, however, a spokesman for a group called Friends for Betsy DeVos says calls for senators who have received contributions from the nominee to recuse themselves are nothing more than a double standard. Ed Patru observed the two teachers unions who oppose DeVos’ nomination have also contributed to the Democrats on the Senate HELP Committee.