WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following Betsy DeVos’ hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and her refusal to pay the $5.3 million in unpaid fines and penalties she owes Ohio taxpayers for breaking the law, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today that he will not support her nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education.
DeVos has refused to answer multiple letters from Brown and his colleagues asking for answers regarding the unpaid fine. Brown pointed out that as Education Secretary, DeVos would be responsible for collecting student loan debt, but has refused to pay her own debts to the people of Ohio.
“If Betsy DeVos wants to support education, she can start by paying the $5 million she owes Ohio taxpayers – that could support nearly 100 more teachers across our state,” said Brown. “Instead of paying what she owes the people of Ohio, Betsy DeVos has spent millions pushing the same style of for-profit education that’s ripped off Ohio taxpayers and short-changed our students. I cannot support Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, because I cannot look Ohio parents in the eye and tell them she won’t put profits ahead of their children’s education.”
DeVos’ All Children Matter Political Action Committee (PAC) owes Ohio money for campaign finance violations dating back to 2008. All Children Matter, which was run by DeVos, broke Ohio election law by illegally funneling $870,000 in contributions from its nationwide PAC to its Ohio affiliate – and accordingly, the state of Ohio levied a record fine of more than $5 million against DeVos’ group. Yet nearly a decade later, DeVos’ group has not paid the debts for its illegal activities.
In addition, despite having no experience as a public school educator or administrator, Betsy DeVos has spent millions lobbying in Michigan in support of for-profit charter schools and other policies that have already proven disastrous in Ohio. After her testimony, Brown remains unconvinced that she will stand against efforts to gut public education, or work to reign in fraudulent for-profit colleges.