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Campus Progress Responds to False Allegations of Connection to Short-Seller Steve Eisman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC—Statement of David Halperin, Director of Campus Progress and Senior Vice President, Center for American Progress:

“In the past few days, Natasha Mayer, a political consultant writing for The Daily Caller website, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan, and others have appeared to suggest that Campus Progress’s work in support of common sense regulation of career colleges is connected to or funded by Wall Street investor Steven Eisman. These suggestions are ridiculous.

The facts are these: We don’t know Steven Eisman. Campus Progress has never communicated with or received any funding from Mr. Eisman or any entity associated with him. Campus Progress, which helps young people make their voices heard on key issues, has never accepted funding from anyone in exchange for taking a position on any matter, and we never will.

As to the confident assertion of these critics that Campus Progress is running a “million dollar campaign,” or that “major ad campaigns require major donors,” or that there are “millions being spent on negative advertising against for-profit colleges by Campus Progress”—not even close. Campus Progress’s total ad buy, consisting of 30-second spots on Fox News and MSNBC, has cost $4,000 so far. Our staff made the ad in-house, with no out-of-pocket costs (other than electricity). The critics are off by at least $996,000.

We certainly would like to have more resources to engage on these issues, because members of the for-profit education industry are in fact spending millions on lobbying alone (more than $5.5 million in the first three quarters of 2010), not to mention consultants, lawyers, and ubiquitous print and TV ads.

For-profit schools and their advocates are now engaging in increasingly desperate tactics—such as absurd allegations against nonprofit groups like ours—because they know the truth is not on their side.

Numerous investigations by federal and state authorities and major media outlets have revealed deceptive and abusive practices by some for-profit school programs—programs that leave many students without jobs and deep in debt. That is why Congress passed a law and the Obama Administration has now proposed a rule to protect students and taxpayers, and that's why last week Campus Progress and 37 other civil rights, student, consumer and other organizations — including the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and League of Latin American Citizens—wrote to President Obama supporting a strong regulation to hold schools accountable.

Our country cannot afford more waste, fraud, and abuse; federal aid must go to programs that help students learn and succeed in the economy, not to programs that ruin lives at taxpayer expense. The focus of the debate must return to these Americans striving to obtain an education and support their families.”

 

Campus Progress, the youth program of the Center for American Progress, has made enactment of a strong gainful employment rule a major priority. It has participated in the Department of Education's rulemaking process, met with government officials, published op-eds and reported articles, and helped build a strong coalition of groups in favor of the rule. This month, Campus Progress also purchased a small cable television ad buy on MSNBC and FOX News to run a 30-second spot addressing this issue, countering an advertising blitz by the for-profit industry.

For more information about the gainful employment regulations, please visit www.campusprogress.org/education.

If you’d like to speak to a Campus Progress higher education expert, please contact Katie Andriulli at 202-481-8238 or kandriulli@americanprogress.org.

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Campus Progress is the youth division of the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan, nonprofit progressive organization. Through programs in activism, journalism, and events, Campus Progress helps young people make their voices heard now on issues that matter, and works with young leaders and organizations nationwide to build a strong, united progressive movement that can bring long-term positive change. Campus Progress runs a daily web magazine, CampusProgress.org; supports student publications on 50 campuses; supports local and national youth issue campaigns; and has held over 900 events. For more information, please visit Campusprogress.org.

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