How corrupt is the Trump administration, you ask?
So corrupt that the Department of Education, under the leadership of Trump appointee Betsy DeVos, has still been hounding former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc. to pay their student loan debts. Those same students that were promised that their debts would be forgiven because they were defrauded by the for-profit colleges that eventually went bankrupt.
Newsweek reports that at least “1,800 people reportedly lost wages or tax refunds” in direct violation of a June 2018 ruling made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim that prohibited the Education Department from going after former students of Corinthian Colleges.
At a hearing in San Francisco on Monday, it was revealed through a filing from the Education Department that some 16,000 former students “were incorrectly informed at one time or another ... that they had payments due on their federal student loans.”
“At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order,” Kim said, reported Bloomberg.
“I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions,” she added. “I’m not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability.”
The case traces its way back to 2015 when Corinthian had been among the largest for-profit college chains in the United States until a wave of investigations and litigation—including a complaint by the 2020 presidential hopeful and then California Attorney General Kamala Harris—alleged widespread deception and fraud.
The Education Department has reportedly only forgiven a total of 10 student loans while continuing to pursue former students for their debt.
According to a statement from the Project on Predatory Student Lending, the Education Department “demanded incorrect loan payments from 16,034 students,” and of those, 3,289 made one or more payments that they did not owe. There are 1,147 students whose loans have not been confirmed to be in the correct status, and in addition to harming the credit of 847 students who were not in default, the department did involuntary wage garnishments and took tax refunds from 1,808 students.
“There have to be consequences for violation of my order sixteen thousand times,” Judge Kim said.