IMHO Rejecting DeVos Based on Unpaid Fine is Wrong Tactic
I read yesterday’s Politico blog post on public education with dismay. It noted with a degree of pride that many Senators who will vote on Ms. DeVos appointment will use their earlier report on her failure to pay fines for “…more than $5.3 million for election law violations — a record fine that is now nearly a decade past due.” The post listed the Senators who have currently expressed concerns over this issue:
Senate Democrats are calling on Trump’s education secretary pick to pay more than $5 million in election fines owed by her school-choice advocacy group… A group of four Democratic senators sent DeVos a letter Wednesday urging her to pay the fine, and calling it “deeply troubling.”
“This will be major factor in my vote,” tweeted one of those senators, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), on Wednesday night, saying the response from the DeVos camp showed a “disturbingly cavalier attitude toward breaking the law.” Joining Merkley in signing the letter were Sens. Tom Udall(D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The letter to DeVos expresses “significant concerns” about the elections fine, and urges her to pay it.
I was disappointed to see that the payment of the fine was being used as a litmus test of sorts for Ms. DeVos because the real problem with her appointment is the complete lack of evidence on her part of ANY support for public education. Instead of using what some will perceive as a technicality, the four Senators would serve public schools far better if they opposed Ms. DeVos’ appointment on principle.