Ohio Democratic Members Call on Betsy DeVos to Pay $5.3 Million in Fines Owed to Ohio

Jan 30, 2017 Issues: Education

Washington, DC – Today Reps. Tim Ryan (OH-13), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), and Joyce Beatty (OH-03) call on Betsy DeVos to pay the $5.3 million owed to the state of Ohio by her Political Action Committee (PAC) for breaking campaign finance law. Before any further action on the confirmation for Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, the Ohio representatives demand DeVos pay the fines owed by DeVos’ PAC, All Children Matter.

"The American people expect more from their highest officials, Betsy Devos should immediately pay the fines owed to Ohio after she broke our state’s election laws. Access to a quality public education has been the great equalizer in our nation – empowering all citizens to have a shot at a better life for themselves and their families. The Department of Education needs a leader who believes that public education is a universal right for everyone regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation. Betsy Devos is not that leader," said Congressman Ryan.

“Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education owes the state of Ohio millions for campaign finance violation by her PAC,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “Betsy DeVos is not above the law, and before the Senate moves forward with her confirmation she must pay the money owed.”

“I am deeply concerned about President Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos is ‘anti-public education,’ ‘anti-transparency and accountability’ in for-profit schools, and ‘anti-teacher unions,’ which represent millions of our nation’s teachers.” said Congresswoman Fudge. “Even more egregious, DeVos is ‘anti-following the rules.’ By not paying back $5.3 million in campaign fines, she has a blatant disregard of Ohio’s laws and an open disdain for our state’s electoral system. DeVos must not be confirmed to lead America’s education system – she poses an imminent threat to our children, who has no respect for the law.”

“As evidenced by her troubling and inadequate responses during the Senate confirmation hearing, it is obvious that Betsy DeVos is woefully unqualified to head the U.S. Department of Education. Also troubling, under DeVos’ leadership, All Children Matter PAC repeatedly violated Ohio campaign finance laws, racking up $5.3 million dollars in fines. Yet, eight years later, neither she nor her former PAC have paid the first penny—which is unconscionable. That is why I call on the Senate to reject DeVos’ nomination and to confirm a nominee who can prepare our children for 21st Century success,” said Congresswoman Beatty.

Background: According to tax documents reviewed by Politico, DeVos was an officer and has publicly stated she was the chair of the Virginia-based All Children Matter PAC. During her leadership, the PAC broke Ohio election laws which impose donation limits of $10,000 per candidate. Devos violated those limits by funneling $870,000 in national PAC money to state Republican candidates, all of whom pledged to advocate for privatizing public school education through vouchers once elected into office. ‎