In response to a post about the predatory for-profit higher education industry, reader Chiara sent the following comment to remind us of how the for-profit industry buys influence in Washington, D.C. and avoids regulation:

To get a sense of how powerful the for-profit lobby is, read this:

“Anita Dunn, a close friend of President Obama and his former White House communications director, worked with Kaplan University, one of the embattled school networks. Jamie Rubin, a major fund-raising bundler for the president’s re-election campaign, met with administration officials about ATI, a college network based in Dallas, in which Mr. Rubin’s private-equity firm has a stake.
A who’s who of Democratic lobbyists — including Richard A. Gephardt, the former House majority leader; John Breaux, the former Louisiana senator; and Tony Podesta, whose brother, John, ran Mr. Obama’s transition team — were hired to buttonhole officials.
And politically well-connected investors, including Donald E. Graham, chief executive of the Washington Post Company, which owns Kaplan, and John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix and a longtime friend of the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, made impassioned appeals.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/us/politics/for-profit-college-rules-scaled-back-after-lobbying.html

This is why I cannot believe anyone is seriously suggesting we can contract out public schools and it will be on the up and up and “well-regulated”. No, it won’t. Lawmakers will be captured and it will be a free for all. The big losers will be poor people, just as the big losers are poor people in the for-profit college scams.

Ed reformers are freaking kidding themselves with this “well-regulated! non-profits!” fantasy. It’s a weirdly arrogant assumption that they are all honorable and well-intended, so immune to this stuff. They’re not immune.