“I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We expect a return on our investment.”1
Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, billionaire Betsy DeVos, wrote those words defending her family’s role as one of the largest campaign contributors to the Republican Party. Very few big donors are so candid about their embrace of pay-to-play politics.
There are 21 senators2 who have received campaign contributions from Betsy DeVos and her family. And it isn’t chump change. Each of these senators have taken thousands of dollars.3 Some, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have received almost $100,000 in donations from the DeVos family.4
Tell the 21 senators: As recipients of thousands of campaign dollars from Betsy DeVos and her family, please recuse yourselves from the Education Secretary confirmation vote.
Betsy DeVos’s own words make it clear that when she opens up her checkbook, she expects something in return. 21 senators whom DeVos believes “owe her” is bad enough.
But here’s what’s worse – five members of the committee responsible for vetting Betsy DeVos as the nominee for Secretary of Education (the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee), have received more than $40,000 each from Mrs. DeVos and her family.
They can’t be expected to be fair and unbiased when they have been such major recipients of Betsy DeVos’ largesse.
Betsy DeVos has made it no secret she and her family use their billions to try to influence politicians and policy. And if confirmed, she will be one of the most unqualified Education Secretaries ever to hold the office -- she has no experience as a teacher, school administrator, or researcher. She has never even attended a public school, nor have any of her children.
Her ability to buy influence is that much worse if it means millions of American school children have their education put at risk by the inexperience at the helm of the Department of Education.
Senators must show the American people they have our best interests at heart – not just the interests of their big campaign donors like DeVos. The 21 senators who have taken DeVos’s money must recuse themselves from voting.
Sign the petition: Tell the “DeVos 21” to recuse themselves from voting on her confirmation.
1. Education Week, "See Betsy DeVos' Donations to Senators Who Will Oversee Her Confirmation," December 1, 2016.
3. Open Secrets, "Betsy DeVos and her big-giving relatives: Family qualifies as GOP royalty," December 1, 2016.