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RELEASE: Coalition Calls for 21 Senators, Past Recipients of DeVos Political Contributions, to Recuse Themselves from Hearing


January 12, 2017

CONTACT: Kyle Epstein, 202-481-8137

Washington, D.C. — Today, 27 organizations representing a range of national progressive organizations sent a letter to 21 senators asking that they recuse themselves from the nomination hearing of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Citing nearly $4 million in combined political donations to those 21 senators, the Senate Leadership Fund, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the coalition letter questions the ability of recipients of millions in campaign contributions to remain impartial in the nomination hearing. This letter comes on the heels of a series of petitions echoing the call for recusal, garnering tens of thousands of signatures in support.

The letter, citing the campaign contributions, also references a 1987 statement DeVos made regarding pay-to-play practices, in which she stated, “I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”

“Betsy DeVos has made it clear that she expects a return on her investment of buying influence in Congress,” said Maggie Thompson, Executive Director of Generation Progress and a signee of the letter. “This brazen play-to-play philosophy from a potential cabinet member undermines the legitimacy our democratic institutions, and these senators have a duty to recuse themselves from the nomination hearing if they wish to live up to the same standards of integrity under which they were sworn in.”

To read the letter, click here.

Related Materials:

To read a CAP column detailing Betsy DeVos’ conflicts of interest, click here.

To sign a recusal petition from End Citizens United and EveryVoice, click here.

To sign a petition from Student Debt Crisis demanding senators vote NO on DeVos, click here.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at or 202.481.8137

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