Justine Sessions, a spokeswoman for Harkin, said the “draft response” suggested by McCord, still a committee aide to Harkin, “was simply a reiteration of what the witness had told our staff previously.”
“This email was to make the witness aware that the question would be asked,” Sessions said, adding that Harkin places a special importance on witnesses before his committee disclosing any “financial interests or motivations they may have in testifying.”
But the unusual interaction between McCord and Pruyn is not the first time Harkin has faced question about his aggressive investigation of the for-profit schools.
As reported by TheDC, Harkin recently faced charges, in an internal evaluation by GAO officials, that pressure from his office resulted in some of the GAO’s “most obvious inaccuracies” in its report on the for-profit schools.
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.
Harkin and his staff angrily denied the accusations.
Ed. note: this article originally said Harkin is holding a “hearing” at 2:00 p.m. today. The event is a “roundtable.”