Both of Georgia’s U.S. senators plan to vote tomorrow to confirm Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s divisive nominee to lead the Department of Education. One, GOP U.S. Sen. David Perdue, has received campaign money from the charter schools advocate and Michigan mega-donor.
Our Cox Washington colleague Patrick Terpstra did the math and found that Perdue was on the receiving end of a total of $18,200 from several DeVos family members during the final stretch of his Senate race in 2014.
The freshman senator put out a statement touting the nominee as a champion of school choice last week in which he also cited his own parents’ roles as educators:
“Parents, teachers, administrators, and students all know that one-size-fits-all Washington education standards are not working and it is time to return control back to states and communities. Betsy DeVos shares these same beliefs.”
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson also plans to support DeVos, according to a spokesman. Per Terpstra, he did not receive any DeVos family money, despite his position on the Senate’s education committee.
DeVos and her family have given tens of millions to Republican candidates over the years. The nominee, who is married to the billionaire heir to the Amway empire, said it was “possible” that her family has collectively given $200 million to the GOP over the years.
DeVos has become one of the most divisive of Trump’s Cabinet picks after a rocky confirmation hearing, and a campaign against her organized by teachers unions and progressive groups is one of the reasons why senators’ phone lines have been inundated over the last week.
Teachers unions gave more than 94 percent of their $3.87 million in congressional donations to Democrats in the 2016 cycle, according to the money-in-politics website Open Secrets.
Meanwhile, many conservative charter school advocates have come out in support of DeVos. And even though two Senate Republicans have vowed to vote against her, she’s expected to be confirmed Tuesday — with a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.
Insiders note: This post was ripped and expanded from today’s Morning Jolt. Read the full post here.