Companies that run for-profit colleges are involved in some heavy lobbying in an effort to help prevent or minimize the impact of new regulations from the Department of Education. According to an article by John Lauerman and Jonathan Salant in Bloomberg News:
For-profit colleges more than doubled spending on lobbying and hired six former members of the U.S. Congress this year to fight regulations that threaten the industry.
Ten education companies and their trade association spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first nine months of 2010, up from $1.5 million in the comparable period last year, according to reports filed with Congress.
This is quite normal. Firms and special interests hire former congressmen and congressional staffers all the time to help with their lobbying efforts. What’s interesting is who they’re hiring.
According to the Bloomberg article, companies that own for-profit colleges are eagerly lobbying using both Democratic and Republican former members of Congress. Education Management Corp. hired both Tom Loeffler (former Texas Republican) and William Gray (former Pennsylvania Democrat).
The Washington Post Co. spent $470,000 in lobbying and hired Vic Fazio (California Democrat) to assist.
The company that spent the most to apply pressure on Congress, however, was Corinthian Colleges, which exhausted about $570,000 in lobbying. The company also hired none other than former Congressman Dick Gephardt to help the company’s lobbying efforts.