President-Elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, faces the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this evening. Trump’s potential cabinet is shaping up to be one of the wealthiest in recent memory, his first 17 appointments have a net worth of more than a third of America, and DeVos is no exception.
DeVos presents a clear danger to public schools as she has spent her career and fortune fighting to privatize public education and gut investments in public schools. Her national advocacy group, American Federation for Children, has funneled millions of dollars into campaigns around the country for the sole purpose of promoting unaccountable private voucher schools – including $5 million spent on Wisconsin elections since 2010.   
DeVos helped bankroll the Donors Trust, a fund in Alexandria, Virginia which specializes in covering the tracks of conservative philanthropists and was recently exposed for funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Project Veritas.
“We’ve seen first hand in Wisconsin how much damage can be imposed by someone like DeVos who has no experience with public education and an ideological axe to grind,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Tuesday. “Betsy DeVos has no business being considered for the position of Secretary of Education. She has spent her entire career and large sums of fortune to privatize public education and gut investments into public schools.”
1) Donors Trust Was Funded By A Bevy Of Conservative Backers Including The Koch Brothers. “Donors Trust is not the source of the money it hands out. Some 200 right-of-center funders who’ve given at least $10,000 fill the group’s coffers. Charities bankrolled by Charles and David Koch, the DeVoses, and the Bradleys, among other conservative benefactors, have given to Donors Trust. And other recipients of Donors Trust money include the Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the NRA’s Freedom Action Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Federalist Society, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, chaired (PDF) by none other than David Koch.” [MotherJones.com, 2/5/13]
2) Donors Trust Was Considered The “Dark-Money ATM Of The Right.” “Yet unlike its nearest counterpart on the progressive side, the Tides Foundation, a bogeyman of Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, Donors Trust has mostly avoided any real scrutiny. It is the dark-money ATM of the right.” [MotherJones.com, 2/5/13]
3) James O’Keefe’s Group, Project Veritas, Was Given Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In Funding From Donors Trust. “According to tax records obtained by PRWatch.org, an investigative watchdog group run by the Center for Media and Democracy, in recent years hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Project Veritas have come through a fund in Alexandria, Virginia, called Donors Trust, which specializes in hiding the money trails of conservative philanthropists. In its promotional materials, Donors Trust says that it will ‘keep your charitable giving private, especially gifts funding sensitive or controversial issues.’” [The New Yorker, 5/30/16]