Search results for: "corruption"

Three whistleblowers in the U.S. Department of Education filed complaints that Betsy DeVos overruled internal reviews to award $72 million to the IDEA charter chain.

This is not the way federal grants are supposed to work. Funds are supposed to be awarded based on peer reviews and staff reviews, not awarded as plums by political appointees. This is political interference at the highest level. This award should be revoked.

I have often referred to the $440 million federal Charter Schools Program as DeVos’s private slush fund, and this grant proves that my hunch was right.

Valerie Strauss writes in the Washington Post:

A U.S. congressman is demanding answers from the U.S. Education Department, alleging department employees complained to his office about political interference in the awarding of a multimillion-dollar federal grant to the controversial IDEA charter school network.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) sent a letter to the department Monday asking for details and records related to the awarding of the grant.

In an interview, Pocan said “three whistleblowers” told his office that professional staff evaluating applications for 2020 grants from the federal Charter School Program had rejected IDEA for new funding, deeming the network “high risk” because of how IDEA leaders previously spent federal funds.

But according to these whistleblowers, Pocan said, professional staff was overruled by political appointees who ordered the funding be awarded to IDEA. The identities of the whistleblowers were not revealed to The Post, nor were the names of the political appointees.

The Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.

IDEA, a Texas-based charter school network with nearly 100 campuses in Texas and Louisiana serving nearly 53,000 students, said in a statement:
”Peer reviewers from education and other fields evaluate grant applications independently from Department of Education staff. In three of the last four Charter Schools Program competitions, spanning two administrations and including the most recent round of grants, the independent reviewers who evaluated applications gave IDEA Public Schools the highest scores of any applicant in the country. (In 2017, IDEA received the second-highest score.) All of the outside reviewers’ scores and comments are public on the Department’s website, and we encourage anyone doubting the strength of IDEA’s applications and our 20-year track record with students to read those reviews.”

Earlier this month, the Education Department announced it was awarding millions of dollars in new grants to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated. IDEA was the top recipient, receiving $72 million over five years.

IDEA had previously received more than $200 million in funding over the past decade through the program.

But the network has been dogged by controversy. This month, IDEA chief executive Tom Torkelson resigned after publicly apologizing for “really dumb and unhelpful” plans that included leasing a private jet for millions of dollars and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on San Antonio Spurs tickets.

The Texas Monitor reported last month that Torkelson had flown on a private jet to Tampa to meet with DeVos to discuss “education philanthropy,” records show. The Monitor reported he was the only passenger on a jet that can hold nine people.

Last November, the Education Department’s inspector general criticized IDEA in an audit of data IDEA included in annual performance reviews it submitted to the federal government, required as part of the grants received from the federal Charter Schools Program.
The inspector general concluded that IDEA Public Schools “did not provide complete and accurate information” for all performance measures on annual performance reports over three years and did not report any information for 84 percent of the performance measures on which it was required to report over two years.

Still, IDEA had certified its annual performance reports were “true, complete and accurate.”
The audit also found IDEA “did not always spend grant funds in accordance with federal cost principles and its approved grant applications.”
IDEA acknowledged some of the findings, took issue with others, and agreed with all the recommendations from the inspector general to improve internal procedures.

That inspector general report, together with the suggestion that political appointees pushed through more grant money, should spark an even deeper inspection of IDEA, Pocan said in an interview.
“There needs to be an investigation,” Pocan said. “This would be completely improper to take a program that has to have inspector general reports and a lot of media attention about bad decisions they’ve made, and then to get a grant that wasn’t approved by the professional staff and instead given for political reasons.”

In this post, Carol Burris lays out a devastating bill of indictment against the charter industry in Pennsylvania. Technically, it is run by “non-profit” Boards, but most of the time those words are fig leaves for for-profit corporations that are growing rich with the help of the state legislature.

Governor Wolf recently announced his determination to hold charter schools accountable, and the charter industry howled with rage. They don’t want any of their cushy deals to be jeopardized.

The people of Puerto Rico are in the streets demanding the resignation of Governor Rosselló, following the release of emails revealing his bigotry and contemptuous comments about those who elected him. Former Secretary of a Education Julia Keleher was brought to the Island to privatize public schools, adopting the Trump-DeVos plan of charters and vouchers. She was recently arrested on fraud charges.

Weingarten: Puerto Rico Gov. Rossello’s Tenure of Corruption and Failure Centers on His Mismanagement of Public Schools

Governor and Former Puerto Rico Education Secretary Keleher Created a Perfect Storm of Indifference and Incompetence 

For Release:

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Michael Powell

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the mismanagement of Puerto Rico’s public schools by Gov. Ricardo Rossello and former Secretary of Education Julia Keleher:

“Nearly 1 million people took to the streets yesterday to call for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello to resign. His tenure of corruption and failure includes his mismanagement of the public schools.

“The governor and Puerto Rico’s former secretary of education, Julia Keleher, caused significant and lasting damage to children and prevented their access to a high-quality education. Rossello and Keleher’s arrogance and neglect created a perfect storm of indifference and incompetence.

“For two years, Rossello and Keleher ignored repeated requests from the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico and the AFT to use federal recovery money to fund and restore public education on the island. By ignoring our requests, they clearly showed their collective antipathy toward public education and how little they cared about the children and teachers in Puerto Rico’s public schools.

“Instead, they chose to grossly underfund public schools, leaving children with outdated textbooks, no school nurses and school buildings in disrepair. They shortsightedly closed more than 430 schools, one-third of the island’s public schools, and left families struggling to find alternative schools for their children to attend, often many miles away. They diverted much-needed funding from public schools to start charter schools, despite the growing evidence showing that many charters underperform compared with traditional public schools.

“To add insult to injury, we now find out from a recent U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General audit that Rossello and Keleher, to date, have spent $24.1 million—only 4 percent—of the $589 million in disaster relief funds provided by Congress to help fund and repair schools.

“Both knew full well that Congress stipulated in the recovery funding legislation that the money had to be spent in 24 months. Tragically—with the governor mired in a corruption scandal and Keleher being forced to resign after her arrest by the FBI for engaging in a kickback scheme—this federal recovery money will be largely unspent or spent unwisely.

“The governor and former secretary’s lack of commitment to the children of Puerto Rico is appalling. And their disrespect to the teachers on the island who threw their heart and soul into trying to teach and comfort these kids in the months after the storms is unforgivable. The sad chapter of Rossello and Keleher will forever be a stain on Puerto Rico.

“The next governor must not just repair the damage done to the public schools by the hurricanes, but must eliminate the utter contempt that Rossello and Keleher brought to their handling of public education.”



# # # #




Writer Christopher Rim asks a reasonable question in this article in Forbes: Did Betsy DeVos’ passion for school choice enable the corruption in administration of federal education funds in Puerto Rico? I was particularly pleased to read this article because Rim is a brilliant young man who does not usually write about education.

He begins:

Yesterday, the former education secretary of Puerto Rico, Julia Keleher, returned to the island to stand trial after being arrested by the FBI on July 10th on fraud charges. Specifically, she and a government official in the insurance sector have been charged with using their government positions and connections to misdirect federal funding and award bloated, fraudulent contracts to their personal connections (several of whom were also arrested on the 10th). Some see this as vindication for the Trump administration, which has cited potential misuse of funds as one of their reasons for repeatedly trying to hold back much-needed funds, most recently funding for food stamps. However, this alleged fraud actually has more to do with policies of reducing public school funding in favor of private and charter schools, a shift made popular by Education Secretary Betsy Devos. 

This scandal comes as a shock to many, but those who have been paying close attention to Keleher’s salary and budgeting, as well as the state of education in Puerto Rico during her two-year tenure, saw her arrest as a vindication of what they have been protesting throughout her time in office. Keleher assumed the responsibilities of Puerto Rico’s education secretary in early 2017. There was immediate controversy over her salary— at $250,000 annually, she was already Puerto Rico’s highest-paid public official, earning ten times more than the average Puerto Rican teacher, three times more than Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Roselló, and 25% more than Secretary DeVos. She maintained this salary even after Hurricane Maria—in fact, she attempted to use a foundation’s donation to the Puerto Rican education system to raise it to $400,000, the same salary as the US President. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, she had to spearhead the education-related relief efforts. Keleher used this tragedy as an opportunity to try her own plans to redesign Puerto Rico’s school system. She led wide-scale education reform efforts and referred to the island’s education system as a ‘laboratory’ to test the Devos model, as she pushed to adopt private school vouchers and charter schools while closing hundreds of public schools. While schools were struggling to recover from the hurricane, Kelleher worked to permanently close over 20% of them—263 public schools were shut down during her time as education secretary. Because of these closures, 5,000 teachers lost their jobs and 75,000 students were displaced. 

All of this led to protests on local, national and international scales. In March 2018, thousands of educators marched to the capitol in protest of the voucher and charter school program. On twitter, critics started the hashtag “#JuliaGoHome” in order to publicly decry her unjust policies. In April of 2019, after she had resigned, Keleher attended an education conference at Yale to speak about leadership. At the conference, a student circulated a letter about the shortcomings and negative repercussions of Keleher’s so-called “reform” efforts. After her arrest, both of the island’s teachers’ unions issued statements that theyfelt vindicated in their longstanding disagreements with and protests against Keleher and her policies. One of these unions, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (AMPR) had filed a lawsuit in April of last year to protest Keleher’s reforms, arguing that “the new law and separate fiscal reforms will cost teachers jobs, hurt students, and dismember the island’s public education system.” By that point, 179 schools had already been closed, and 263 would soon face the same fate. 




Arthur Camins writes here about two different worlds, two different perceptions of reality. 

On one side is money and power, defending privatization, promoting disruption, and ignoring corruption.

On the others are the defenders of the common good, who do not have money and power.

In recent years, people associated with the hedge fund industry, technology titans such as the Gates, Zuckerberg, and Jobs families, and right-wing foundations have all invested financial and political capital to promote charter schools. Their predominant ideological lens– no matter their political party affiliation– is competition and associated risk. That is why the liberal Gates and the conservative Walton families find common cause on charter schools. Long- and short-term triumphs and failures are essential features of their entrepreneurial worldview. Through that lens “start-ups” come and go, IPOs rise and fall, businesses merge, and divisions divested.  Lost jobs and careers are collateral damage–especially when the victims are poor and/or not White. That is their normal. It is the world in which they have triumphed.  They look at the world through the lens of their personal success. The losers in the process are, well–just part of how things get done. They have wealth and power and seek to impose and extend their will and perspective on everything within their reach. The public sector–including schools–is in their way. Increasingly democracy, and with it, government regulation is in their way too. Hence, they favor private over elected school boards. They are a tiny minority, but their perspective has gained bipartisan political and mass-media traction.

Another lens is the common good and its explicit companion, cross-racial unity. It has no wealth and power to extend its reach. However, it has a distinct advantage.  It represents the vast majority of Americans.  The questions you ask frame the answers you get.  Let’s ask, “Do you favor single a democratically-governed, high-quality public education system for every child or two taxpayer-funded systems: One privately-governed and another democratically governed?” I haven’t seen such a poll, nor have I seen any that ask: “Is it fair to drain money from public schools to fund charter schools?” or “Is it acceptable for schools to frequently open and close?” My best guess is that the stability, the common good, and racial unity will win hands down over the disruptive, market competition, and racially-divisive perspectives.

Read on to see where Camins is going as he explores the two perspectives.

A crack investigative team at the Arizona Republic won the prestigious George Polk Award for their fearless expose of charter school corruption in the state.

Now we might wonder where are the think tanks like the Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution, which never utter a critical word about charter school corruption and malfeasance. CAP and Brookings are supposedly “liberal” think tanks, but for some reason they are unwilling and unable to say anything about the scams in charter world. My guess is that they are still protecting Obama’s education legacy, unwilling to admit that they are also protecting George W. Bush’s education legacy, which was identical.

Through their investigative work, reporters Craig Harris, Anne Ryman, Alden Woods and Justin Price revealed how Arizona’s school funding system and permissive legal structure allow charter-school operators to make huge profits off public education dollars. The team, led by investigative editor Michael Squires, published the five-part series “The Charter Gamble,” which examined how Arizona committed 25 years ago to the then-untested concept of charter schools and what the program has meant for the state.

The George Polk Awards in Journalism were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate CBS correspondent George Polk, who was murdered while covering the Greek civil war, and are presented annually to honor special achievement in journalism, especially investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results. The Republic’s team was recognized at the 70th annual Polk Awards announcement ceremony for “initially disclosing insider deals, no-bid contracts and political chicanery that provided windfall profits for investors in a number of prominent Arizona charter schools, often at the expense of underfunded public schools.” 

Greg Burton, executive editor of The Republic and, said the reporting team “unspooled miles of red tape to reveal what had been hidden during a decades-long push to funnel public money to privately run public charter schools — oftentimes with noble intent. But, where regulators and politicians fail as watchdogs, local reporters are vital. In this case, politicians and businessmen who could have pushed for reform made millions by ignoring warning signs. This is where Republic reporters worked to protect the public’s trust.”

In response to the reporting by the Arizona Republic, the legislature is considering charter reforms but none of those reforms will affect the worst abusers, some of whom are members of the legislature.

Betsy DeVos often says that Florida is a national model of choice. You will understand why she says this when you read the report from a government watchdog agency called Integrity Florida. This group, which is not focused on education but on government ethics, reveals in detail what happens when government money is handed out freely to entrepreneurs without any oversight or accountability.

Corruption and malfeasance run rampant.

The biggest money to finance the privatization of Florida’s schools came from Betsy DeVos and the Walton Family and a gaggle of rightwing out-of-state elites.

Betsy and the Waltons and their rightwing allies bought the privatization of Florida’s schools.

Here is the executive summary:

Underfunding, coupled with the continual adoption of tax cuts that make adequate public-school spending harder and harder to attain, prompts a look into the future. How much further growth in the number of charter schools is likely? How will that growth affect traditional schools and the public education system?

The answer to the first question appears to be that growth will continue unabated as long as private charter companies consider public schools a profit-making opportunity and they find receptive audiences in the legislature. If current trends continue, a 2015 national report concluded, “Charter schools will educate 20-40 percent of all U.S. public-school students by 2035.”1 Reaching those percentages in Florida would require doubling to quadrupling charters’ current 10 percent share of all public school students.

Some charter and school choice advocates are clear about their goal. Charters already have “created an entire new sector of public education” and they ultimately may “become the predominant system of schools,” the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has said.2 And the ultimate hope of many, as Milton Friedman wrote (see Page 8), is to bring about a transfer of government to private enterprise, in part by “enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop” in education.

Continued growth in the charter sector will exacerbate a problem that seemingly runs against the Florida Constitution’s decree that the state must provide “a uniform system” of high-quality education. As the number of charters has grown, with different rules than in traditional schools, some question whether a uniform system actually exists today. If Amendment 8 had remained on the November ballot and passed, a state charter authorizer could have approved new charter schools without the consent of the school district. In that case, the school district would not “operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district,” as another provision of the Constitution requires.

As the Miami Herald has said during a charter school investigation,
“Charter schools have become a parallel school system unto themselves, a system controlled largely by for-profit management companies and private landlords – one and the same, in many cases – and rife with insider deals and potential conflicts of interest.”

Key Findings

• Charter school enrollment continues to grow in Florida and nationwide, although at a slower rate than in previous years.

• The number of charter schools managed by for-profit companies in Florida continues to grow at a rapid pace and now makes up nearly half of all charter schools in the state.

• Although many charter schools in Florida are high performing, research has found no significant difference in academic performance between charter schools and traditional public schools.

• Numerous studies have found that charter schools strain traditional schools and school districts financially.

• Charter schools were originally proposed as teacher-run schools that would use innovative techniques to be shared with traditional schools. Over time, the concept changed to set up a competitive relationship between charters and traditional schools rather than a cooperative one.

• Charter schools have largely failed to deliver the education innovation that was originally promised and envisioned.

• Some charter advocates have explicitly said their goal is to privatize education by encouraging a for-profit K-12 industry. Today some charter proponents see charter schools, rather than traditional ones, as the “predominant system of schools.”

• Since 1998, at least 373 charter schools have closed their doors in Florida.

• Local school boards have seen reduced ability to manage charter schools in their

• The Florida Supreme Court removed Constitutional Amendment 8 from the November 2018 ballot that would have created a statewide charter school authorizer. However, future attempts by the legislature to establish a statewide charter authorizer may occur and should be opposed. A state charter authorizer would preempt voters’ rights to local control of education through their elected school boards, even though local tax dollars would pay for charter expansion.

• The charter school industry has spent more than $13 million since 1998 to influence state education policy through contributions to political campaigns.

• The charter school industry has spent more than $8 million in legislative lobbying expenditures since 2007 to influence education policy.

• The legislature has modified the original Florida charter school law significantly over the years to encourage creation of new charters, increase the number of students in charter schools and enhance funding of charters, sometimes at the expense of traditional schools.

• Some public officials who decide education policy and their families are profiting personally from ownership and employment with the charter school industry, creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.

• Lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for financial mismanagement and criminal corruption.

Policy Options to Consider

• Inasmuch as charter schools can be an inefficient and wasteful option for “school choice,” the legislature should evaluate the appropriate amount of funding the state can afford to offer in educational choices to parents and students.

• Require for-profit companies associated with charter schools to report their expenditures and profits for each school they operate.

• Require charter schools to post on their website their original application and charter contract along with their annual report, audit and school grade.

• Charter school websites should include lease agreements, including terms and conditions and who profits from the lease payments.

• Companies managing charter schools in more than one school district should have annual audits ensuring local tax revenue is being spent locally.

• Add additional criteria for school boards to consider when reviewing and deciding on a charter school application.

• Give local school boards more tools to manage the charter schools in their districts, including greater contractual oversight and the ability to negotiate charter contracts.

• Increase education funding to sufficiently fund all public schools to eliminate competition between traditional schools and charter schools for inadequate public education dollars.

• Prohibit charter schools from using public education funds for advertising to attract new students.

• Limit the amount of public funds that can be used for charter school facility leases to a certain percentage of the school’s operating budget.

• Require charter schools to report annually the number of dropouts, the number of withdrawals and the number of expulsions.

Go to pages 26-30 to see where the money came from to finance this plunder and privatization of Florida’s public schools. You will see familiar names.

Angie Sullivan teaches in a low-income elementary school in Carson County, Nevada. She often writes every legislator to expose the persistent underfunding of the schools.

Remember when DeVos lied in front of the whole nation about the Nevada K12 Charter? Hardly anyone graduates – yet she claimed that charter had a 100% graduation rate. Here are the Nevada online charters again – grabbing cash and suing to keep their cash cow. Hard earned tax payer money going to whom for what?

Apparently they had $2 million in lobby money. Enough to grease all sorts of folks.

I am sure there was more money than that spread around.

One for-profit online made $6500 x 3000 students = $19 million. 3000 enrolled but only 200 test? That is not “choice”. It appears no one is actually participating. Are we paying for education that is non-existent?

It annoys me that folks blame Patrick Gavin. Gavin is dirty. He is part of this – but only one part. No one has been accountable. No one has provided data. No one has asked hard questions.

Do you see all these names in this article?

Bipartisan dirty hands.

All these folks including Canavero need to be asked serious questions about this. And they need to reveal any money that has ended up in their personal bank accounts. Who has lobbied them?

All legislators running a for-profit charter or sitting on for-profit charter boards – we see you too. Unethically voting for yourself and your corporations.

I give credit to Guinasso for trying to clean up this $350 million mess. Everyone on all sides and every level is dirty. That job cannot be fun. So many folks involved in this garbage.

The Charter Authority needs legal teeth. It also needs a board willing to shut terrible charters down if they are floundering in bankruptcy and fraud. If unaccountable charters are not publishing data – they need to be closed. If failing charters are not graduating, they need to be closed. When for-profit charter corporations start suing the state, they need to be immediately closed.

Someone has to stand up to these billion dollar for-profit corporate bullies.

How is one person supposed to keep a billion charter corporation from scamming Nevada tax payers?

Folks screaming for “choice”.

This is Nevada “choice”?

Money changing hands and no one being educated?

That is not choice – that is a scam.

This is dirty dirty dirty. It is bipartisan dirty.

Canavero? Canavero? Canavero? This has your name all over it. Where are you? Busy arbitrarily attacking public schools to make way for . . . charters? There is something disgusting about that.


Folks seem to only like that word – when it is not applied to THEM.

Senator Woodhouse? Senator Denis? Senator Hammond? Where have you been?

30 years of looking the other way. Lots of folks got used to ignoring that $350 million was being severely wasted and abused. Were they paid well?

Former Majority Leader and newly elected Attorney General Aaron Ford – you advocated for this trash. Who donated to your campaigns? What are you going to do about it now?

God help us. The corruption is thick.

Nevada Charters are NOT a remedy. No one should want to turn a public school into this. No one should think this is fine.

This is garbage and a huge horrific wicked web. 🕷

Everyone needs to be accountable.

And all hypocrites – stop pointing your finger at CCSD public school teachers. We are actually the only ones getting real education work done. We get attacked and removed from students we serve and love. You threaten our communities with charter reform. Why? Which charter is an example of excellence? I see charter segregation by money, race and religion.

While these charter scammers get paid millions to educate no one?

This is bad leadership. And total mismanagement.

Yep accountability.

We need some of accountbility pointed at the right people. I see them crawling all around. 🕷🕷🕷

Maybe Patrick Gavin should tell us all about it.

The Teacher,

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona has been a stalwart champion of unregulated charters and vouchers. He has looked the other way when members of the legislature pass laws to enrich themselves while running charter chains and voucher programs. He has ignored conflicts of interest, nepotism, and self-dealing because, hey, that’s how unbridled capitalism works!

But the state is now knee-deep in scandals committed by privatizers, and guess what? Governor Ducey says it is time to reign in the corruption!

In a debate with his Democratic opponent, David Garcia, Ducey claims he wants to reform charter law. Is it because of the latest scandal, where a legislator (Eddie Farnsworth) sold his for-profit charter chain to a nonprofit and cleared at least $11.8 million in profit plus a contract to manage the nonprofit chain?

Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic is outraged that the government is indifferent to charter fraud.

She writes:

Farnsworth says he’s just a businessman who took a risk, followed the law and is now reaping the reward.

“Charter schools have been lucrative to me because I’ve done what every other business has done to make money: I had an idea,” he told Harris. “I put the business plan into place. I followed every law and every contract. I provided a product that is a good product that people wanted.”

“It doesn’t hurt that for most of the last two decades, Farnsworth, along with other legislators who own charter schools, has helped write some of those laws. In his 16 years as a legislator, for example, Farnsworth has voted 12 times to boost “additional assistance” to charter schools (read: himself).

“But there is no conflict, we are told.“

Garcia is an education professor. He has pledged to eliminate the profiteering from the charter se tor. His own children have attended an arts-focused charter school, so he is not opposed to charters on principle, just to the rampant fraud that makes Arizona a national laughing stock.

Despite his support for charters, the Network for Public Education Action Fund Endorses Garcia because Ducey is an ALEC stooge and a voucher proponent. Garcia opposes vouchers and has pledged new dedicated funding for public schools.

Peter Wehner worked for three Republican presidents. He is now an opinion writer for the New York Times. He is a Never Trumper.

He wrote this article a few days ago.

There’s never been any confusion about the character defects of Donald Trump. The question has always been just how far he would go and whether other individuals and institutions would stand up to him or become complicit in his corruption.

When I first took to these pages three summers ago to write about Mr. Trump, I warned my fellow Republicans to just say no both to him and his candidacy. One of my concerns was that if Mr. Trump were to succeed, he would redefine the Republican Party in his image. That’s already happened in areas like free trade, free markets and the size of government; in attitudes toward ethnic nationalism and white identity politics; in America’s commitment to its traditional allies, in how Republicans view Russia and in their willingness to call out leaders of evil governments like North Korea rather than lavish praise on them. But in no area has Mr. Trump more fundamentally changed the Republican Party than in its attitude toward ethics and political leadership.

For decades, Republicans, and especially conservative Republicans, insisted that character counted in public life. They were particularly vocal about this during the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, arguing against “compartmentalization” — by which they meant overlooking moral turpitude in the Oval Office because you agree with the president’s policy agenda or because the economy is strong.

Senator Lindsey Graham, then in the House, went so far as to argue that “impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

All that has changed with Mr. Trump as president. For Republicans, honor and integrity are now passé. We saw it again last week when the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen — standing in court before a judge, under oath — implicated Mr. Trump in criminal activity, while his former campaign chairman was convicted in another courtroom on financial fraud charges. Most Republicans in Congress were either silent or came to Mr. Trump’s defense, which is how this tiresome drama now plays itself out.

It is a stunning turnabout. A party that once spoke with urgency and apparent conviction about the importance of ethical leadership — fidelity, honesty, honor, decency, good manners, setting a good example — has hitched its wagon to the most thoroughly and comprehensively corrupt individual who has ever been elected president. Some of the men who have been elected president have been unscrupulous in certain areas — infidelity, lying, dirty tricks, financial misdeeds — but we’ve never before had the full-spectrum corruption we see in the life of Donald Trump.

For many Republicans, this reality still hasn’t broken through. But facts that don’t penetrate the walls of an ideological silo are facts nonetheless. And the moral indictment against Mr. Trump is obvious and overwhelming. Corruption has been evident in Mr. Trump’s private and public life, in how he has treated his wives, in his business dealings and scams, in his pathological lying and cruelty, in his bullying and shamelessness, in his conspiracy-mongering and appeals to the darkest impulses of Americans. (Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, refers to the president’s race-based comments as a “base stimulator.”) Mr. Trump’s corruptions are ingrained, the result of a lifetime of habits. It was delusional to think he would change for the better once he became president.

Some of us who have been lifelong Republicans and previously served in Republican administrations held out a faint hope that our party would at some point say “Enough!”; that there would be some line Mr. Trump would cross, some boundary he would transgress, some norm he would shatter, some civic guardrail he would uproot, some action he would take, some scheme or scandal he would be involved in that would cause large numbers of Republicans to break with the president. No such luck. Mr. Trump’s corruptions have therefore become theirs. So far there’s been no bottom, and there may never be. It’s quite possible this should have been obvious to me much sooner than it was, that I was blinded to certain realities I should have recognized.

In any case, the Republican Party’s as-yet unbreakable attachment to Mr. Trump is coming at quite a cost. There is the rank hypocrisy, the squandered ability to venerate public character or criticize Democrats who lack it, and the damage to the white Evangelical movement, which has for the most part enthusiastically rallied to Mr. Trump and as a result has been largely discredited. There is also likely to be an electoral price to pay in November.

But the greatest damage is being done to our civic culture and our politics. Mr. Trump and the Republican Party are right now the chief emblem of corruption and cynicism in American political life, of an ethic of might makes right. Dehumanizing others is fashionable and truth is relative. (“Truth isn’t truth,” in the infamous words of Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.) They are stripping politics of its high purpose and nobility.

That’s not all politics is; self-interest is always a factor. But if politics is only about power unbounded by morality — if it’s simply about rulers governing by the law of the jungle, about a prince acting like a beast, in the words of Machiavelli — then the whole enterprise will collapse. We have to distinguish between imperfect leaders and corrupt ones, and we need the vocabulary to do so.

A warning to my Republican friends: The worst is yet to come. Thanks to the work of Robert Mueller — a distinguished public servant, not the leader of a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs” — we are going to discover deeper and deeper layers to Mr. Trump’s corruption. When we do, I expect Mr. Trump will unravel further as he feels more cornered, more desperate, more enraged; his behavior will become ever more erratic, disordered and crazed.

Most Republicans, having thrown their MAGA hats over the Trump wall, will stay with him until the end. Was a tax cut, deregulation and court appointments really worth all this?