WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) denounced Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos for stonewalling their request for information about the millions of dollars in unpaid campaign finance violation fines owed by her political action committee, “All Children Matter”.
As the senators noted, DeVos has failed to ensure payment of the record $5.3 million fine for illegal campaign finance activities by her PAC dating back to 2008, and she has refused to answer multiple Senate inquiries into the matter ahead of her confirmation hearing this afternoon.
In a letter to Senator Lamar Alexander (D-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ranking Member on the Senate HELP Committee, the senators called attention to their two separate letters, dated December 12, 2016 and January 6, 2017, to DeVos demanding information on her PAC’s brazen refusal to pay a court-ordered fine for campaign finance violations.
Both letters remain unanswered by DeVos. As the senators stated, DeVos’ refusal to answer questions posed by five senators, including a member of the HELP committee, impedes the Senate’s ability to provide advice and consent on DeVos’ nomination. The senators requested that HELP Committee leadership direct DeVos to either ensure payment of her PAC’s massive unpaid fine, or to provide substantive and sufficient responses to the many unanswered questions about her PAC’s illegal activity prior to a vote on her nomination in committee.
As the senators wrote, “While not all senators will agree on what issues are relevant in considering a nominee’s fitness for office, we believe everyone can agree that nominees should be responsive to inquiries made in furtherance of our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent. Unfortunately, Mrs. DeVos has not only refused to ensure that her organization pays fines for campaign finance law violations, but she has also refused to answer questions about the incident posed by five senators, including a member of your committee.”