Two weeks ago, America's subprime schools -- the for-profit college industry, many of whose members rip students off and demand that Uncle Sam pick up the tab for their shoddy education -- held a conference in Washington, D.C. We were there.
The association for these schools, America's Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), brought in elite Democratic and Republican Party operatives to teach them how to intimidate candidates for federal office into supporting them. They also blamed the students themselves for mounting student debt.
At one point during the conference, former Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott -- now a major lobbyist for APSCU -- explained how he won over senators one by one to the cause of these scam schools.
After Lott's presentation was over, I decided to confront him. I asked him to agree to a definition of conservatism where the ideology meant conservatives were for a smaller and more efficient government. He agreed.
I then asked him how he can explain how he, as a conservative, is lobbying to dump billions of dollars into scam schools. Lott deflected and tried to defend the merits of a subprime education. We debated the issue back and forth until he approached his limousine-style car and driver. I asked him if he was willing to disclose what he was being paid by the industry. He grew flustered. "It's a matter of public record," he huffed. "Just check the record." Watch it:
I decided to take Lott's advice and "check the record." According to public disclosure documents, APSCU paid Lott's firm $90,000 in 2011 for the services of both the former senator and former congressman John Breaux. It's a relatively small price tag for selling out America's students.
This story is adapted from a post originally appearing on Republic Report.