For-profit colleges have been aggressively targeting and recruiting veterans as they chase post-9/11 GI benefits as a lucrative source of revenue not subject to the Department of Education’s 90/10 rule, which ensures at least 10 percent of their revenue comes from somewhere other than federal student aid. Dropout rates for veterans at these diploma mills are as high as 68 percent, meaning while the schools keep the money, the veterans are left with neither degree nor GI benefits.
The problem has gotten so bad, President Obama recently issued an executive order curtailing certain practices; several bills related to this are pending in Congress; Holly Petraeus, assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (and wife of the retired Gen. David Petraeus) has publicly warned veterans about these predatory colleges; and the advocacy group Student Veterans of America (SVA) revoked charters from its chapters at 26 for-profit colleges operating sham chapters.
Fourteen of the revoked SVA charters were at campuses owned by EDMC, which is currently the defendant in an $11 billion false claims suit alleging they fraudulently obtained money from the federal government. EDMC is 40 percent owned by Goldman Sachs and the Chairman of the Board is John McKernan, former governor of Maine and husband of Sen. Olympia Snowe.
According to opensecrets.org, as of April 2012, Goldman Sachs had contributed $1.97 million to over 250 candidates running for office in 2012.
Unfortunately, Goldman’s contributions are tainted by money from activities which include sex trafficking, allegations of exploiting veterans and defrauding the government, insider trading and defrauding investors by knowingly selling them junk products. While Goldman has apparently sold its interest in backpage.com, it appears it did so only after having been “outed” by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times.
Politicians who knowingly accept campaign contributions from Goldman are accomplices in the scamming of veterans and the other misdeeds.
These politicians are also participants in a de facto kickback scheme, whereby Goldman obtains revenues from the government through EDMC and then kicks back some of this money to elected officials in the form of campaign contributions.
What follows is a partial list of those who have accepted campaign contributions of at least $10,000 from Goldman Sachs as of April 2012, according to opensecrets.org. Seventy-five percent of all Goldman contributions have gone to Republicans. These numbers will change as the campaign season progresses.
Mitt Romney $528,180
Barack Obama 80,224
Scott Brown 58,050
Marco Rubio 51,000
Debbie Stabenow 29,500
Eric Cantor 20,500
John Boehner 17,000
Mitch Mcconnell 16,000
Amy Klobuchar 15,000
Olympia Snowe 13,000
Tim Kaine 10,750
Paul Ryan 10,000
Goldman Sachs’ contribution to over 250 national candidates may help to explain why there was neither meaningful Wall Street reform nor any criminal prosecutions following the near destruction of the economy in 2008. Between the campaign contributions and the revolving door between Goldman Sachs employees and the federal government, Goldman has thoroughly infiltrated and “captured” the federal government.
Goldman Sachs is Romney’s largest contributor, which anoints Romney the Manchurian candidate for Wall Street. And Obama’s acceptance of Goldman Sachs’ money is incompatible with his stance against for-profit colleges and the exploitation of veterans.
While Republicans claim to be the party of family values and patriotism, Boehner, Ryan, Cantor and Co. show they are willing to turn a blind eye to sex trafficking and the exploitation of veterans for a few bucks.
Goldman’s generous support of Brown seems to be in response to his opponent, Elizabeth Warren. And the $13,000 accepted by Snowe is especially remarkable, since some of that money is derived from the government through EDMC and her husband is the chairman of EDMC.
The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).
For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.
The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.
Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.