search
Sections List
American Journal News

Federal judge threatens to toss Betsy DeVos in jail for contempt

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ignored a court order to stop collecting student loan payments from students defrauded by for-profit colleges.

By Dan Desai Martin - October 08, 2019
Share
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could soon join other Trump associates in jail now that a federal judge learned DeVos blatantly ignored a court order, Bloomberg reported Monday.

“I’m not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim said during a court hearing on Monday.

The issue stems from a lawsuit against the Education Department brought by former students who attended the now-bankrupt Corinthian College. In that suit, Kim ruled that the department must stop collecting student loan payments from students because of an Obama-era rule for a program that would “allow federal student loan borrowers to request loan forgiveness on the basis that their school engaged in unfair, deceptive, or illegal practices,” according to Forbes.

When DeVos took over the Education Department, she effectively gutted the Obama-era program, ignored the court order, and continued to collect student loan debts from hundreds of people. The department even garnished wages and seized tax refunds from at least 1,808 former students. In the years since the order, the department refunded only 10 students money they are owed.

“I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions,” Kim told department lawyers at the hearing. “At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order.”

Bloomberg also reports Kim told lawyers she was “astounded” that the department would ignore her orders.

DeVos, a billionaire heiress who donated millions of dollars to Republicans before being nominated for Education Secretary, has faced controversy from the very start.

At her confirmation hearing, DeVos defended guns in schools because a school in Wyoming might need them to protect against grizzly bear attacks. After looking into the matter, Politifact said DeVos was wrong — schools in Wyoming were all gun-free at the time — and that a $40 can of bear repellent from Amazon would likely be more effective.

After she was confirmed, DeVos backed the Trump administration’s efforts to take federal funding away from the Special Olympics, and she has a track record of refusing to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination.

In 2018, protesters untied and set adrift a $40 million yacht belonging to DeVos. In the aftermath, the public learned that DeVos refuses to fly the American flag on her yacht, opting to fly a Cayman Islands flag in order to avoid paying the state of Michigan about $2 million in taxes.

None of those controversies landed DeVos in legal jeopardy, but refusing to follow court orders could bring real consequences.

“We think contempt is clear on the record presently before the court, and expect that the court will issue that finding, regardless of what sanctions are imposed,” Eileen Connor, a lawyer representing the students, said during Monday’s court hearing.

If DeVos does land in jail, she will join Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn as Trump associates who are either in jail or awaiting a sentence for federal crimes.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - March 11, 2024
December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

By Casey Quinlan - January 05, 2024
Biden’s infrastructure law is boosting Nevada’s economy. Sam Brown opposed it.

Biden’s infrastructure law is boosting Nevada’s economy. Sam Brown opposed it.

By Jesse Valentine - November 15, 2023
Biden infrastructure law helps Pennsylvania’s small manufacturers

Biden infrastructure law helps Pennsylvania’s small manufacturers

By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars

GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars

By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
Democratic bill would increase housing access for formerly incarcerated Michigan residents

Democratic bill would increase housing access for formerly incarcerated Michigan residents

By Alyssa Burr - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital Star - June 14, 2024
As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

By Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune - June 14, 2024
Lt. Gov. Robinson touts end of DEI as LGBTQ+ advocates seek protections, equity

Lt. Gov. Robinson touts end of DEI as LGBTQ+ advocates seek protections, equity

By Ahmed Jallow, NC Newsline - June 13, 2024
U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

By Eleanor Klibanoff, Texas Tribune and Karen Brooks Harper, The Texas Tribune - June 13, 2024
Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

By Orion Rummler, Louisiana Illuminator - June 12, 2024