Image courtesy of The Windquest Group
The confirmation hearing for Betsy Devos has become arguably the most controversial appointment yet by President Donald Trump. Since her narrow confirmation as Secretary of Education by an unprecedented tie-breaker vote from Vice President Mike Pence, red flags have been raised over previous campaign donations by the Devos family.
FEC filings show that the billionaire Devos family has contributed over $900,00 total to the political campaigns of 21 of the 52 sitting Republican Senators. All of them voted yes to her confirmation as Secretary of Education except for one, Lisa Murkowski.
Critics from the left were quick to swarm Twitter with screenshots of the donations, calling the confirmation a typical “IOU” political handoff.
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) February 7, 2017
Exhibit A: GOP senators to whom Betsy DeVos made contributions. Exhibit B: GOP senators who voted to confirm Betsy DeVos. Any questions? pic.twitter.com/VUtx0pdiPR
— Alex Mohajer (@alexmohajer) February 7, 2017
As a newcomer to the world of DC politics, it’s understandable that Devos would have some private donations in her past, even if they’re much larger than most people could afford.
But in addition to these individual contributions, the Devos family has also given over $13 million to to Super PACs such as the Republican National Committee and Freedom Partners Action Fund.
The Devos family has rubbed shoulders with other big donors along the way. A recent profile in The New Yorker linked the family to the Koch brothers as frequent attendees to donor summits and contributors to their political ventures.
Betsy Devos also acted as co-founder to the James Madison Center for Free Speech, a non-profit who’s goal is to end legal restrictions on financial donations in politics. One of the key advisers to the Madison Center was James Bopp, the man credited with forming some of the key arguments used in cases like Citizens United v. FEC, which introduced a new age of big money in politics.