Company with Ties to Betsy DeVos Awarded Department of Education Contract

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Betsy DeVos) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Betsy DeVos) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Pillow

The United States government is big and robust, but it can’t do everything. So whenever the government has something it needs to do that doesn’t fall in its wheelhouse, they hire an outside contractor.

Businesses bid on the contracts and they are supposed to be chosen by the government objectively. Generally, it is frowned upon to for a government official to choose a business to which they have ties. Some, even consider it illegal. This is why some people have called foul on the latest contract awarded by the department of education.

Performant Financial Corp. was chosen by the department of education to collect overdue student loans. This is problematic because DeVos has ties to that company.

The Hill sums up the potential conflict of interest:

DeVos invested in a firm tied to Performant before she was named Education Secretary and was required to divest from that company within 90 days of her confirmation.

An Education Department spokesman told The Post that DeVos had “no knowledge, let alone involvement,” in the contract with Performant.

And the head of investor relations at Performant told the Post that the corporation “has never had any direct or indirect contact with Secretary DeVos or anyone related to Mrs. DeVos. 

Some critics have complained because only two firms were chosen’s and in the past, the department of education has chosen up to 17 companies to collect the past-due payments.

Windham Professionals was the other firm chosen for the contract. 

The department of education insists the bids were chosen based on the advantages they provided to the government.

Only Betsy DeVos and Performant Financial Corp know if her former ties had anything to do with being awarded the contract, but it’s this blogger’s opinion that an administration consistently mired in controversy should at least attempt to avoid these types of situation. Even if everything is on the up and up, the optics look bad.

Read more here. (The Hill)

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.