Give the Laureate money back, Bill (Clinton)

Priorities USA Action, a major super-PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, just returned a $200,000 contribution it received illegally from a construction company with federal government contracts. The super PAC returned the money after the contribution was disclosed by the Center for Public Integrity.

Hillary’s husband, Bill, should follow Priorities’ example and give up the $16.5 million he collected from Laureate Education Inc., a for-profit company with a sketchy record. Returning the money would also be consistent with Hillary’s condemnation of underperforming and deceptive for-profit education institutions.

Selling out as a corporate shill has rarely been so lucrative as it has been for ex-president Bill Clinton.

In 2010, he signed on to become an “Honorary Chancellor” for Laureate International Universities, part of Baltimore, MD-based Laureate Education Inc.

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Former President Bill Clinton speaking as honorary Chancellor at Laureate Education

Laureate has 86 schools serving about 1 million students online and on physical campuses in 28 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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In return for serving as a front man for the privately held company, Clinton collected $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014. Laureate also has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

While Clinton worked for Laureate, he and the company consistently refused to say how much he was being paid, but an analysis of the Clinton’s tax returns revealed the numbers.

In the statement released with their tax returns, Hillary Clinton said of their financial success, “…we owe it to the opportunities America provides.” That’s one way to look at it.

Laureate aggressively marketed its relationship with Bill Clinton and it paid off.

New York Magazine described Bill Clinton as the “face” of Laureate. When Laureate secured approval to build a new for-profit university, Torrens University Australia, in Adelaide, South Australia (where for-profits are called “private” institutions), the headline in The Australian newspaper read: “First private university in 24 years led by Clinton.”

Bill Clinton resigned his Honorary Chancellor position at Laureate in April 2015.

If he’d done his homework before hooking up with Laureate, he’d have found a lot of reasons not to sign on (aside from avoiding blatant money-grubbing).

As New York Magazine put it, “While some of the company’s schools are highly ranked, others have been accused of low admissions and academic standards, “turbocharging enrollment” to boost revenues, and deceptiveness about tuition costs — the same troubling practices that caused the Obama administration to try to stanch the flow of federal-student-loan dollars to for-profit schools in the United States.”

So, Bill, a little advice. Rid yourself of this stain by returning the $16.5 million to Laureate or (preferably) donate it to a worthy education program (Not the Clinton Foundation). It’s the right thing to do.

 

 

 

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