January 17, 2017 / In The News

WUNC: 5 Things to Look for in Betsy DeVos’s Confirmation Hearing

By: Eric Westervelt

There hasn’t been a more controversial pick for secretary of education, arguably, in recent memory than Donald Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos. The Senate confirmation hearings for the billionaire Republican fundraiser and activist from Michigan start today.

DeVos is a champion of vouchers and expanding charter schools in a broader push for greater school choice — closely aligned with the views of the president-elect.

Her hearing was pushed back nearly a week because of Democrats’ concerns over her “extensive financial entanglements and potential conflicts of interest,” as Sen. Patty Murray of Washington put it. She’s the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, which will conduct the hearing.

Here are five areas of questioning that are likely to come up:

1. Money

DeVos and her family have given more than a million dollars to sitting Republican senators, according to Federal Election Commission reports, as well as some $10 million more to superPACs and party committees.

That has prompted numerous left-leaning groups, including End Citizens United, to call for some senators to recuse themselves on a DeVos confirmation vote.

Given that DeVos once said she expects a return on investment for contributions, expect Democrats to challenge her on how the DeVos family has used its billions to support ballot measures, organizations, causes and politicians in Michigan, as well as some of the elected officials who’ll be sitting in front of her.

Click here to read the full article from WUNC 91.5.

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Salon: Questions and conflicts: Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s secretary of education choice, is surrounded by controversies