Betsy DeVos may be facing another roadblock on her crusade to be education secretary.
Democrats have been extremely outspoken about the conflicts of interest of Betsy DeVos, and her apparent lack of judgment. DeVos has been criticized widely for believing in teaching creationism across the board, voucher programs, and for feeding money into charter schools in Michigan with a lack of oversight, and often, a lack of civil rights.
She further was called out by Warren in the Senate confirmation hearing for having no experience managing a loan program of this scale, nor has she ever used the loan program or attended a public school.
Five United States Senators are currently in the process of calling her to account as well for outright breaking Ohio election law. The undersigned Senators are Tom Udall, Sherrod Brown and Edward J. Markley, and Bernie Sanders. They call for her to pay her $5.3 million fine in relation to the offense:
‘[Letter] from 5 US Sens asking #BetsyDeVos to pay her $5.3M fine- FOR BREAKING OHIO ELECTION LAW #trumpleaks #DeVosHearing #rt #devosfacts #resist’
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 26, 2017
Democrats called for a second hearing due to the extensive and complex financial ties and dealings the billionaire DeVos has. Among these ties, it seems, is included $48,000 in donations in 2016 to Republican Senator of Indiana, Todd Young.
The news of this conflict of interest struck particularly hard with teachers in Indiana, who subsequently staged a sit-in to demand Young to recuse himself from the DeVos vote.
Todd Young is a part of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee which is holding an executive session on January 31 to vote on DeVos.
Sen. Young had his staff respond to questions from Eyewitness News, claiming that Young has no intention of recusing himself. His reasoning is that other Senators have previously voted despite conflicts of interests like donations prior.
Unfortunately, Young is not the only Senator who should be recusing themselves due to DeVos donations and a conflict of interest.
The Federal Election Commission details that Betsy and her husband Dick have donated over $1 million to Senators from 1980 to 2016:
- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) $33,100
- Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) $43,200
- Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) $70,200
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) $26,000
- Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) $46,800
- Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) $49,800
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) $21,600
- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) $48,600
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) $50,600
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) $36,400
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) $43,200
- Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) $23,400
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) $51,000
- Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) $46,800
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) $98,300
- Sen. Timothy E. Scott (R-SC) $49,200
- Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) $23,400
- Sen. John Thune (R-SD) $17,500
- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) $70,200
- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) $60,050
- Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) $48,600
Additionally, DeVos gave $2.25 million in the fall to the Senate Leadership Fund tied to Sen. Mitch McConnell, and over $900,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
DeVos also donated 1.45 million dollars to Republican candidates in a seven-week span between June and July of 2016 in Michigan.
It is a saga that just keeps going and going. Regarding the financial conflicts of interest, and the accusations that she has quite literally purchased herself the nomination, DeVos stated:
‘I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence…Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.’
People across the country have been speaking out by calling their representatives in the Senate to protest. It is likely that more sit-ins like this will occur as Devos’ confirmation date draws closer.
Feature Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.