by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
July 24, 2018
Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, has some gall! She’s in Wisconsin today to visit public schools in Adams-Friendship after the organization she founded has spent millions of dollars devastating our public schools.
DeVos is the founder of the American Federation for Children, the leading private school voucher group in the country. It has spent more than $ 6.5 million since the beginning of 2010 primarily to run attack ads against Democratic candidates for statewide office. It has also spent more than $425,000 in lobbying during this period.
In return, state spending on private school vouchers in Wisconsin has totaled $1.2 billion in this timeframe.
Since 2002, DeVos has given $52,440 in direct contributions to candidates in Wisconsin. The biggest recipient has been Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Pat Roggensack, who received a total of $10,000 in two gifts from DeVos in 2013. Scott Walker received a total of $900, all in 2011.
In Wisconsin, one of the leaders of the American Federation for Children is none other than Scott Jensen, the disgraced former Speaker of the Assembly, who was convicted of a crime during the Caucus Scandal of 2001. Jensen is perhaps as powerful today as he was when he was Speaker because he walks the corridors of the state capitol with Betsy Devos’s money stuffed in his pockets, and he uses it strategically at election time to help secure the Republican majority.
DeVos once infamously wrote in Roll Call: “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.”
In Wisconsin, she has gotten it.