Advance Notice: Briefs

DeVos held in contempt of court, but taxpayers will pay $100K fine

By: - October 26, 2019 8:58 am

Betsy DeVos | Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

A federal judge this week took the rare step of holding U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court over her department’s handling of student debt. The department admitted it still collected on loans for 16,000 students of for-profit Corinthian College, which has been shuttered, despite being ordered not to in May 2018, Politico reports.

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DeVos, a West Michigan billionaire whose family has given millions to Republicans and conservative causes, was slapped with a $100,000 fine. However, Politico reports that she will not have to repay it; the government will. The money will go to a fund held by former Corinthian students’ attorneys to defray the costs of litigation.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay a heartless billionaire’s court fines for further punishing defrauded students,” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said, according to the U.K.-based Independent. “Betsy DeVos should be held personally accountable for violating court orders and breaking the law.”

The U.S. Education Department said in a tweet Thursday that it’s “disappointed” in the ruling.

DeVos is one of President Donald Trump’s few original cabinet members left. A fierce education choice advocate who has funded attempts to institute vouchers in Michigan and other states, DeVos became an issue in the 2018 election, with Democrats tying Republicans to her. Warren and several other Democratic presidential candidates have blasted her on the campaign trail this time around.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.