We all know that the for-profit “education” is corrupt, well-funded, and utterly cynical. Today, we get another example of “how money corrupts democracy,” as Zaid Jilani of the Republic Report puts it. Here’s an excerpt from Jilan’s post on the ASPCU’s (Brian Moran’s group) latest outrage:
The for-profit colleges, multi-billion dollar companies that rely on federal grants, have collected themselves into the super-boring sounding association known as the Association for Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). [Yesterday] they held a closed-to-the-public but open-to-the-media meeting in Washington, D.C. to plot how to keep Congress from approving stricter regulations on the billions of taxpayer dollars that their corporations receive through federal student loans and grants.
Fagen laid out a strategy for an astroturf (which means fake grassroots) campaign, saying that it’s “much better to get in front of a candidate running for office before he or she is actually in office.” She referenced the “card check issue,” the Employee Free Choice Act, a controversial bill to strengthen labor unions. Fagen noted that the retail industry engaged in anti-union astroturf operations in swing districts and that when key Democrats were elected, “they were in our corner.” She went on to note that the for-profit college industry should be on the ground in Wisconsin to get candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat to commit to being for or against their legislative agenda.
Sosnik then took to the microphone and – despite being a long-time Democrat and close advisor and friend of President Clinton – praised Fagen’s anti-union strategy, noting that she was one of the people who ran the campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act and “she was totally right about that.” Sosnik is not elected, and neither is Fagen – but their opinion matters to policy-makers. And as you’ll see, Sosnik’s cynicism about democracy is fascinating.
The whole thing is slimy as can be, and I encourage you to read the entire article. The bottom line, though, is that the for-profit “education” industry is one that – as Zaid Jilani puts it – “seeks to avoid accountability to students and taxpayers,” employing lobbyists who have “one goal that they put before ideology: the money that the for-profit colleges are paying them to ensure that the government continues to hand them as much cash as possible with as few strings attached as possible.”
As I said, this is as slimy as can be. It’s also a big part of the reason why so many people are cynical (and in this case, rightfully so!) about government. The Virginia-related question is why the head of the DPVA is employed in a senior capacity by this industry’s top lobbying outfit, the ones that put on the abysmal display referenced above. (A wild guess at the answer: deafening silence from all concerned.)