The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
WASHINGTON - MAY 28:  U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks to the media during a news conference May 28, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) WASHINGTON - MAY 28: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks to the media during a news conference May 28, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

Issa plans hearing on scandal-ridden education regulation

Top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa of California is quietly planning a hearing on a scandal-ridden new regulation just finalized by the Education Department, according to a June 13 letter he sent to New York Democrat Rep. Edolphus Towns.

The move comes as Issa has been investigating a related Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that was plagued by errors and, according to some GAO officials, political interference from top-ranking Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.

It is also in response to a May 24 letter from Towns requesting a hearing. Towns’ letter walks through some of the numerous issues facing the regulation, including the role of a group of Wall Street short sellers who lobbied the Education Department hoping to profit from strict new rules on the for-profit college sector.

June 2, the Education Department finalized the regulation, which puts strict new rules on for-profit or “career” colleges. The regulations were intended to address concerns from critics the schools use high pressure sales techniques to lure unprepared students into enrolling.

(Amid scandals, Education Department finalizes regulation on for-profit schools)

Issa suggests he’s planning to focus especially on the impact of the regulation on the economy.

“As I share concerns regarding the potential impact of this regulation on jobs, my staff has been closely following this regulation. In addition, the Committee is planning to schedule a hearing in the near future on the regulation,” Issa says in a June 13 letter to Towns.

As reported by The Daily Caller, Issa has been investigating an undercover sting unit at GAO that produced an error-ridden report on for-profit colleges, including interviewing the team that produced the report, staining the agency’s normally unimpeachable reputation.

The report was crucial to providing political momentum for the regulation. But in November, GAO issued a slew of corrections; the corrected version of the report paints a less critical picture of the schools.

Issa’s investigation is focused on the undercover team itself, not the for-profit proof per se. The team is described as having a history of faulty work.

As reported by TheDC, an internal GAO evaluation about what went wrong on the for-profit report faulted pressure from far left Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin as the reason for some of the reports “most obvious inaccuracies.”

The evaluation said “congressional staff” demanded the inclusion of numerous details in the report and, facing the “extreme short time frames” given to complete it, GAO “stretched whatever we could find” to fill in a key detail.

“They wouldn’t have included those references unless they felt bullied,” one former GAO official told TheDC.

But Harkin has angrily denounced the GAO’s allegations, his staff claiming his innocence publicly in a memo and privately in phone calls to key insiders.

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  • pylgrym47

    “The move comes as Issa has been investigating a related Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that was plagued by errors and, according to some GAO officials, political interference from top-ranking Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.” The issue is less about for-profit colleges per se than the accuracy (and thereby the reliability)of GAO reports suffering from “political interference”.

    • StudentPerspective

      “The issue is less about for-profit colleges per se than the accuracy (and thereby the reliability)of GAO reports suffering from “political interference.”

      What about the political interference that promotes and protects the for-profit sector?

      http://tampastudents.net/TampaWeb/GovernmentInfluence.html

      Isn’t it time we stopped the political games and actually served our citizens?

      • Brutus2

        “Isn’t it time we stopped the political games and actually served our citizens?”

        ————————————–

        Pretty funny line from a Wall Street short-seller, posing as a student, while trying to cover for their influence-peddling scandal.

        • StudentPerspective

          Pretty funny line from a Wall Street ‘investor’, posing as a ‘caring individual’, while trying to ‘keep the flow of Title IV funds flowing into the coffers of fat-cat executives and other Wall Street investors’.

  • old man

    Who forced them to go to those schools. I don’t get loans I can’t pay back, People have a responsibility for these loans. These schools will go out of business if they are not treating their customers fair. Remember this is not a government school, that is supported by tax money

    • StudentPerspective

      “Remember this is not a government school, that is supported by tax money”

      Do your homework before making a statement like this. Tax money is funneled through students to line the pockets of Wall Street investors. These companies make their riches through tax payer money…period! Whether students repay or not (a separate issue) tax money goes directly to these conglomerates.

    • StudentPerspective

      “These schools will go out of business if they are not treating their customers fair [sic]”

      These schools will never go out of business as long as big business continues to support them, politically and otherwise. Case in point, Goldman Sachs is 40% owner of Education Management Corporation. Remember, Goldman Sachs was the recipient of bailout money. Sen. Olympia Snowe sat on the committee and voted in favor of this bailout even though her husband, John McKernan is the Chairman of the Board of EDMC. Talk about a conflict of interest!!

  • cmccartn

    for profit colleges are pretty impressive
    http://socialmoderatefiscalconservative.blogspot.com/
    their students default on their loans at 2 to 3 times the rate of non-profit colleges, but they have already made their money so what do they care?
    it’s a pretty good strategy for screwing over the consumer, i hope republicans are willing to stand up and defend these multi-million dollar corporations ability to make profit

    • thephranc

      Its not the schools fault the students default. The only screwing over is the students screwing over themselves.

      • StudentPerspective

        “Its not the schools fault the students default”

        Please, please, please do your homework. It most certainly is the schools’ fault in many, if not most of the cases. This industry is disgraceful. If you are interested in a place to start doing some research, check out http://tampastudents.net. This site contains a wealth of information in one place.

      • cmccartn

        it is when they use high pressure sales techniques,
        enroll students they know probably can’t graduate
        are deceptive about what they offer (sometimes deceptive, sometimes out right lying)
        it isn’t all a shady industry, but some of it is

        • StudentPerspective

          Absolutely! Unfortunately, it involves some of the biggest names and most powerful, influential and wealthy organizations. This makes it even more disgusting and exploitative.

    • StudentPerspective

      Republicans are playing political football with this issue. They have plenty to say about the ‘unfairness’ of the HELP hearings but from where I sit, I see that if their complaints are valid, they have an obligation to take part in these hearings…not walk out or refuse to attend. If they are members of this committee, they are charged with valid, active participation on this committee. The behavior and comments of several Republicans on this committee have been downright disgraceful. All of these hearings are available for viewing. I suggest that they be viewed by everyone with an interest in this sector.