With No Help From Pat Toomey, Senate Votes to Help Defrauded Student Borrowers Drowning In Debt

After Taking Over $63,000 From Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Family, Toomey Refused to Overturn Costly DeVos Rule That Guts Borrower Defense Protections 

Washington D.C. – In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, today the US Senate voted to disapprove of billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new “Borrower Defense” rule that would have left tens of thousands of defrauded student borrowers struggling to pay illegitimate debts. Without the support of Senator Pat Toomey,Senate Joint Resolution 56 passed by 53-42 vote and now moves to the President’s desk. The bill was backed by leading veterans’ groups including the American Legion, as well as ten Republican Senators and six GOP Members of Congress. Consumer watchdog group Allied Progress slammed Senator Toomey’s opposition as a quid pro quo for the over $38,000 in campaign cash he’s raked in from the for-profit college industry and over $63,000 from Betsy DeVos and her family.

“Fortunately, Senator Toomey was in the minority in Congress who don’t want to see defrauded student borrowers made whole again. Toomey chose instead to rubberstamp the Trump administration’s scheme to protect the profits of crooked diploma mills,” said Derek Martin, director of Allied Progress. “He abandoned Pennsylvania students who were robbed of the quality education they continue to pay for. And he apparently did it to the keep the money flowing from billionaire Betsy DeVos and the for-profit college industry. The Senator didn’t want to bite the hand that feeds him, so he threw ripped off student borrowers and taxpayers to the wolves. You know the DeVos rule was a bad deal when even the McConnell-led Senate rejected it.”

Added Martin: “No one is buying the claims from DeVos’ apologists like Toomey that these unreasonable requirements for student debt relief are about saving taxpayer money. If that were true, the Secretary wouldn’t have systematically let the for-profit college industry off the hook for bad behavior, which only invites more incidents of fraud against student borrowers and American taxpayers.”

AT ISSUE is the costly and corrupt rule Secretary DeVos advanced in August 2019 that made it next to impossible – apparently by design – for student borrowers who were scammed by shady colleges to cancel their loans and receive full restitution (also known as a Borrower Defense Claim). There are now over 217,000 backlogged Borrower Defense claims – including over 7,000 in Pennsylvania alone. Under powers outlined in the Congressional Review Act, the resolution before the President would restore the 2016 “Borrower Defense to Repayment” rule, a protection that provides a path to debt forgiveness for students ripped off by predatory higher-ed institutions, oftentimes for-profit colleges.

DeVos’ fatally-flawed borrower defense rule was the natural result of the Secretary surrounding herself at the topwith former lobbyists and executives from the for-profit college industry. By the Education Department’s own estimates, the DeVos rule shortchanges fraud victims by over $500 million a year compared to the current protections — a boon to the for-profit college industry that has given over $8 million to Republican campaigns. The original Borrower Defense Rule was projected to recoup over $17 billion in losses for harmed students by 2020, and was designed to protect taxpayers.

In February, Allied Progress released results of a national poll that found Secretary DeVos’ approval rating has plummeted to 28 percent, and that there is strong support across the political spectrum for Congress to investigate her recent misconduct.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

There Are Over 7,000 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Pennsylvania, Represented By Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA).

There Are 7,127 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Pennsylvania, Represented By Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA).

As Of September 30, 2019, There Were 7,127 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Pennsylvania.[Borrower Defense to Repayment Loan Forgiveness Data September 2019 Report, Federal Student Aid Data Center, accessed 01/24/20]

  • “Senator Pat Toomey Joined The U.S. Senate From Pennsylvania In 2011.” [About Senator Toomey, Pat Toomey U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania, accessed 01/24/20]

Sen. Pat Toomey Has Taken $38,320 In Political Contributions From The For-Profit College Industry.

Sen. Pat Toomey Has Received $38,320 From The For-Profit College Industry Throughout His Congressional Career.

Over His Career, Senator Pat Toomey Has Received $38,320 From The For-Profit College Industry. [“For-profit Education: Money to Congress,” OpenSecrets, accessed 01/24/20]

Sen. Pat Toomey Has Taken $63,550 In Political Contributions From Betsy DeVos, Her Family, And A PAC Affiliated With Their Company.

Throughout Sen. Pat Toomey’s Congressional Career, He Has Received $58,550 In Political Contributions From Betsy DeVos’ Family.

Date Recipient Contributor Amount
10/31/16 Friends of Pat Toomey Prince-Brockhuizen, Elsa D. $500
09/21/16 Friends of Pat Toomey Prince, Elsa D. $1,000
08/24/16 Friends of Pat Toomey Prince-Brockhuizen, Elsa D. $500
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Dan $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Betsy $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard Jr. $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Helen $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Cheri $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard Jr. $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard M. $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Maria P. $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Douglas $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Dan $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Maria P. $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Helen $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Douglas $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Cheri $2,700
03/31/15 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Betsy $2,700
09/30/10 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Betsy $2,400
09/30/10 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Douglas $1,500
09/30/10 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Maria P. $1,500
09/30/10 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard $2,400
09/17/10 Friends of Pat Toomey Prince, Elsa $500
12/03/09 Friends of Pat Toomey Prince, Elsa $250
07/20/09 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Richard $2,400
07/20/09 Friends of Pat Toomey DeVos, Helen $2,400

 

Betsy DeVos’ Family Includes Richard, Dick, Richard, Helen, Dan, Pamella, Doug, Maria, And Suzanne Cheryl DeVos, Plus Edgar And Elsa Prince. “Members of the DeVos family who contributed to Larsen’s judicial campaign in Michigan included DeVos; her husband Dick, who is president of investment firm The Windquest Group; Dick DeVos’ parents, Richard and Helen; Dan DeVos, Betsy DeVos’ brother-in-law and his wife, Pamella; another brother-in-law, Doug DeVos, and his wife, Maria; and sister-in-law Suzanne Cheryl DeVos. The family’s patriarch, Richard DeVos, co-founded Amway, the global direct-sales company.” [Seung Min Kim, “DeVos and family members donated to Trump judicial nominee,” Politico, 05/31/19]

Sen. Pat Toomey’s Congressional Career, He Has Received $5,000 From The PAC Affiliated With The DeVos’ Company, Alticor.

In The 2016 Cycle, The “Alticor Political Action Committee” Contributed $2,000 To Pat Toomey. [Amway/Alticor Inc. Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2016 cycle, OpenSecrets.org, accessed 01/24/20]

In The 2010 Cycle, The “Alticor Political Action Committee” Contributed $3,000 To Pat Toomey. [Amway/Alticor Inc. Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2010 cycle, OpenSecrets.org, accessed 01/24/20]

Alticor Is The “Parent Company” Of Amway, “The Machine That Built The Devos Fortune.” “Amway, the machine that built the DeVos fortune, is among the best-known multilevel-marketing companies in the world […] There’s Cheri DeVos, who sits on the board at Alticor, Amway’s parent company.” [Zach Stanton, “How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take Over Michigan Politics,” Politico, 01/15/17]

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