Department of Education Stonewalls the Release of Records Illuminating  Potential Conflicts of Interest For Diane Auer Jones and Robert Eitel Involving Their Former Employers— Scandal Plagued For-Profit Colleges

Washington, DC — Today, Democracy Forward filed suit against the Department of Education (DOE) for refusing to release records disclosing the extent to which senior Trump Administration officials are coordinating with the for-profit education industry to influence the college accreditation process and weaken the rules protecting students from predatory for-profit colleges.

Democracy Forward originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications between senior DOE officials Diane Auer Jones and Robert Eitel and the for-profit colleges they have represented throughout their careers. The Administration has since failed to respond.

“Secretary DeVos has filled the Department of Education with former for-profit college executives who have a history of working to undermine rules that protect vulnerable students from predatory for-profit colleges,” said Democracy Forward Analyst Rachael Klarman. “That’s putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.”

The FOIA request also sought records revealing any potential communications between Jones and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)—a group whose accreditor recognition process Jones is overseeing. Last week, Democracy Forward demanded Jones recuse herself from that process due to her ties to ACICS. Before joining the Trump Administration, Jones was a senior executive at the for-profit college group Career Education Corporation (CEC), and ACICS accredited the majority of CEC’s campuses.

Read the full complaint here.


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.


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