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.

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. 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.