Ed Patru, Friend Of – And Mouthpiece For – Betsy DeVos

01/08/2017 11:03 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2017
Ed Patru
DCI Group
Ed Patru

I have been doing a lot of reading about Trump’s nominee for US secretary of education, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, and I have noticed a recurring defender of DeVos, Ed Patru, “spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos, a group of supporters.”

We could even just write the tag this way—

Ed-Patru-spokesman-for-Friends-of-Betsy-DeVos,

—since it appears to be a single, unified tag whenever Ed Patru or “Friends of Betsy DeVos” are mentioned.

Ed-Patru-spokesman-for-Friends-of-Betsy-DeVos.

I searched for any formally organized group calling itself Friends of Betsy DeVos, and I found no record. In fact, the only hits I did find always seem to be some quote by Ed Patru, spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos.

There is just Ed Patru.

According to his Linkedin bio, Ed Patru is a PR guy who is currently VP of Media Affairs for a Washington, DC-based, PR firm, DCI Group.

Below is Patru’s Linkedin summary:

Dynamic communications professional with extensive background and expertise in developing high-impact communications operations for corporate, non-profit and political organizations.
Demonstrated talent in launching regional and national campaigns and securing national, regional, and local media coverage. Track record of building, developing, and leading high-caliber teams of talented communications professionals. Seasoned communicator proficient in generating persuasive written and oral communications.Specialties: Public Affairs, Media Relations, Crisis Communications / Rapid Response, Client Media Training, Copy Writing, Op-Ed and Article Placement.

Also according to Linkedin, Patru has a history with the Republican Party, beginning in 1998 as press assistant for Engler for Governor ’98. Also in 1998, Patru became press secretary for the Michigan Republican Party (1998-2000). In 2000, for less than a year, Patru was a media specialist for McCain 2000.

Patru then became press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2001 to 2003 and then NRCC deputy communications director from 2005 to 2006.

Patru then became US House of Representatives Republican Conference communications director (2006-2007).

DeVos was the chair of the Michigan Republican Party on and off between 1996 and 2000, then on again from 2003 to 2005. She has held multiple roles related to the Michigan Republican Party and National Republican Party spanning 1908 to 2016; for more info, see DeVos’ publicly-released, 23-page HELP Committee questionnaire.

“Friends of Betsy DeVos” does not have a website; it is apparently a private group, if it is even a group at all. The DeVoses could have simply hired Patru to field PR for Betsy DeVos.

It sure looks like Ed Patru is “Friends of Betsy DeVos.”

Interestingly, Patru does not name the group, Friends of Betsy DeVos, on his Linkedin bio. Nevertheless, he sure does look official in his defense of DeVos by having “Ed Patru, spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos,” and sometimes, “a group of supporters,” following his being quoted in news articles.

Based upon his defense of what DeVos means and stands for, it is fair to ascertain that Ed Patru is the spokesman for Betsy DeVos herself.

During her 5-minute speech on Trump’s Michigan stop in Grand Rapids on December 09, 2016, DeVos stated, “In deference to the US Senate confirmation, I’m not giving interviews.” So, it seems that she is “giving interviews by proxy” through news articles via spokesman Patru.

Here is one such article, a piece by Washington Post education writer Emma Brown, as published in the January 07, 2017, Durango Herald, entitled, “Education Nominee, Family Members Donors to Senators Who Will Vote on Confirmation.” An excerpt:

DeVos supporters push back against the notion that her track record as a donor is unusual, pointing to billionaire Penny Pritzker, Obama’s Commerce Secretary, as one of several recent examples of Cabinet members with a history of making significant political donations. In the four years before her nomination, Pritzker donated about $20,000 to Democratic senators who then voted on her confirmation, according to FEC records.
“If you accept the faulty premise that political contributions create a conflict of interest, then any amount is problematic,” said Ed Patru, spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos, a group of supporters. “I don’t remember a single Democrat, citing conflicts of interest, recusing themselves from a vote on billionaires like Penny Pritzker.”

Here is one such article, a piece by Washington Post education writer Emma Brown, as published in the January 07, 2017, Durango Herald, entitled, “Education Nominee, Family Members Donors to Senators Who Will Vote on Confirmation.” An excerpt:

DeVos supporters push back against the notion that her track record as a donor is unusual, pointing to billionaire Penny Pritzker, Obama’s Commerce Secretary, as one of several recent examples of Cabinet members with a history of making significant political donations. In the four years before her nomination, Pritzker donated about $20,000 to Democratic senators who then voted on her confirmation, according to FEC records.
“If you accept the faulty premise that political contributions create a conflict of interest, then any amount is problematic,” said Ed Patru, spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos, a group of supporters. “I don’t remember a single Democrat, citing conflicts of interest, recusing themselves from a vote on billionaires like Penny Pritzker.” ...
DeVos family members, heirs to the Amway fortune, are consistent major donors to Republicans and groups supporting their candidacies. ... They gave at least $10 million in the 2016 cycle.

And there is this January 02, 2017, article in PJ Media, entitled, “7 Desperate Liberal Lies about Trump’s Education Pick, Betsy DeVos.” Another excerpt:

“Betsy DeVos is very much against public education,” declared USA Today senior political reporter Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Przybyla wasn’t alone, either. The Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss wrote a story entitled “To Trump’s education pick, the U.S. public school system is a ‘dead end.'” ...
“Strauss knows full well that Betsy doesn’t believe public schools are a dead end, but she ran the headline anyway,” Patru told PJ Media in an email statement. “Strauss took a quote, divorced it from context, and then labeled Betsy and opponent of public education writ large. It’s among the most dishonest reporting I’ve seen in 20 years.”

And here is Patru in the January 06, 2017, Holland Sentinel article, “Stabenow Opposed Betsy DeVos for Education Department Head”:

DETROIT – U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she will vote against Betsy DeVos as the next head of the U.S. Education Department.
The Detroit Free Press reported that the Michigan Democrat says she talked to DeVos and “our conversation reaffirmed my strong concerns about her nomination,” Stabenow said. “Betsy DeVos and her family have a long record of pushing policies that I believe have seriously undermined public education in Michigan and failed our children. Therefore, I cannot support (her).” …
Ed Patru, a spokesman for a group called Friends of Betsy DeVos, said Stabenow and DeVos still can find “common ground” on education issues.

And one more: A December 14, 2016, Boston Globe article entitled, “Ed Markey Wants Trump’s Education Pick Betsy DeVos to Pay Old $5.3 Million Fine”:

In their letter Monday, the five senators wrote the group’s “blatant disregard for the law” was “deeply troubling” and the refusal to pay the fines was “unconscionable.” ...
In an e-mailed statement, Ed Patru, a spokesman for a group called Friends of Betsy DeVos, dismissed the lawsuit as a “politically driven effort to derail education reform in Ohio.”
“Betsy was not a party to the suit, a trial court judge ruled none of ACM’s officers or board members can be held liable for the fine... the issue was put to rest eight years ago,” Patru wrote. …
The full letter can be read here.

There we have it– what Betsy really stands for, what Betsy really meant, how given situations with Betsy really played out– straight from the mouth of Friends of Betsy DeVos mouthpiece, Ed Patru.

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Longer version of this piece originally posted 01-07-17 at deutsch29.wordpress.com.

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Released July 2016– Book Three:

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

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