Sen. Enzi’s Big Backers

Tug

Yesterday Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa held a hearing on for-profit colleges. Harkin is the chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The HELP hearing looked at the financial outcomes of students who attend for profit colleges. One might think since for-profit colleges are career schools, their subsequent careers and earnings might be something interesting to investigate.

Well not for Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the ranking member of the committee, who didn’t bother to show up. The Republican led a boycott of the hearing; none of the Republicans graced the hearing with their presence.

Why was this? Well it might be because Enzi is very conservative (the National Journal designated him the sixth-most conservative U.S. Senator in 2007) but that probably doesn’t have much do with it (isn’t spending vast unregulated public money for education, as the for-profit college are funded using extensive federal loan money, supposed to be a liberal policy?).

Enzi has also been very critical of the process of trying to regulate for-profit schools. He thinks the Department of Education conspired with investor Steven Eisman to create the gainful employment rule, which was supposed to make Eisman a bundle. So maybe the process just disgusts Enzi.

More likely, however, Enzi just skipped the hearing because he didn’t want to hear what it would reveal. This is likely because, according to a piece put out by Campus Progress, for-profit colleges gave Enzi more than $40,000 in the last election cycle.

Well, I guess we know where his priorities are.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer