Betsy DeVos

President Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Education is already facing some significant headwind after a disastrous performance in front of Congress during confirmation hearings, and then an ironically illiterate tweet on inauguration day (sad!).

But Ohioans have special reason to be skeptical of the fitness of Betsey DeVos to lead the department that oversees public education throughout the country: A political action committee for which she served as chair was found to have violated state campaign contribution limits in donations to Ohio Republicans in attempts to privatize education.

From the Toledo Blade:

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) joined two of her Democratic congressional colleagues today in calling on education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos to pay a $5.3 million fine owed to Ohio by a PAC she once chaired.

Mrs. DeVos, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and an advocate for charter schools and vouchers, is awaiting a Senate confirmation hearing Jan. 17.

Miss Kaptur, along with Reps. Joyce Beatty of Columbus and Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights near Cleveland spoke on the House floor… demanding that Mrs. DeVos pay the fines levied by the Ohio Elections Commission.

Mrs. DeVos was a chairman of and contributor to the Virginia-based All Children Matter Political Action Committee. That PAC and an Ohio subsidiary were found to have given campaign contributions that violated donation limits of $10,000 per candidate.

The committee funnelled $870,000 in national PAC money to state Republican candidates who pledged to advocate for privatizing public school education through vouchers, Miss Kaptur said.

“The $5.3 million fine that Betsy DeVos’ political organization owes to Ohio could pay for better education for Ohio’s children. It is outrageous that a candidate for Secretary of Education holds herself above the law and fails to make good on outstanding fines, imposed nearly 10 years ago,” Miss Kaptur said.

While the fines were imposed on the two PACs for which Mrs. DeVos worked, given that she is a billionaire (who has never attended public schools, never sent her children to public schools, and spent her ‘career,’ as it were, advocating for the destruction of public schools), perhaps she can buck up and manifest some public faith by paying the damn fines she owes.

Ohio’s own U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown also weighed in on the matter:

“Betsy DeVos’ disregard for the law and refusal to pay the $5.3 million she owes to Ohio taxpayers raise serious questions about whether she’s fit to lead the Department of Education,” Mr. Brown said. “Billionaires are not above the law and if Betsy DeVos believes she can disregard the law today, how can we hold her accountable to American students as Secretary of Education?”

Keep the pressure on, dear Plunderbunders. Now more than ever.

D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.