US Judge Holds Betsy DeVos In Contempt Of Court, But Taxpayers Will Pay Her Fine
American taxpayers will foot the bill for a $100,000 fine incurred by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after her department violated a judge’s order, according to Politico.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education admitted it had violated an order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim to stop collecting on student loans from 16,000 borrowers who were defrauded by the for-profit and now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.
The order was issued in May 2018, but Kim said "the evidence shows only minimal efforts to comply with the preliminary injunction.”
Because DeVos is named in the lawsuit in her official capacity, Politico reported, she will not be held personally responsible for the fine; instead, the government will make the payment.
The judge ordered that the money go to a fund controlled by the former students’ attorneys that is meant to “help defray the damages and expenses associated with the improper collection of the loans.”
The Education Department has maintained that it was the fault of loan servicers that the payments were wrongly collected, though officials acknowledged they had been “negligent” in overseeing the companies.
“The Education Department has said it is in the process of providing refunds to at least 3,200 of those borrowers who ended up making unnecessary payments,” Politico reported. “In other cases, the government erroneously seized borrowers’ federal tax refunds or wages.”