STUDENT LOANS….In recent years, Education Department officials have been notified about several “questionable practices” in the student loan industry but have decided not to bother doing anything about them. Why?

At least eight top officials in the Education Department during the Bush administration either came from student-loan or related organizations or have taken lucrative jobs in that arena since leaving the agency….Members of Congress — including the Democrats who head committees overseeing education, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Rep. George Miller of California — say they are concerned about the industry ties.

….Some Republicans are critical as well, including Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin. “It’s hard for a program staffed mainly by folks in the industry to impartially conduct oversight of the industry,” says Thomas Culligan, Mr. Petri’s aide for education policy.

It’s nice to see that at least one Republican cares about this. But since it’s practically the founding principle of the modern party, I somehow doubt that his concern will spread widely.