See how Betsy DeVos responded to Senate questionnaire on conflicts of interest, lobbying
With her confirmation hearing slated for Tuesday, West Michigan native Betsy DeVos - Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Secretary of Education - is in the process of addressing questions over any potential ethical issues of concern.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics is in the process of conducting its check on DeVos. Her confirmation hearing was originally scheduled for this week but was postponed to give the ethics office more time to conduct its review.
But some federal documents have already been released in which the school choice advocate and GOP mega donor responded to questions on conflicts of interest, cooperation with Congress and future employment.
Below are excerpts of DeVos' response to a questionnaire from the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which is hosting DeVos' confirmation hearing.
Democrats on the committee have also sent letters to DeVos requesting information on topics ranging from her stance on various education issues to which legislation education groups backed and supported by DeVos have advocated for. DeVos has had conversations with some of those senators but does not plan to send a public response to them prior to her confirmation hearing, said Ed Patru, a spokesman for Friends of Betsy DeVos.
Here's the questions and responses included in the questionnaire:
Question: Please describe any business relationship, dealing or financial transaction which you have had during the last five years whether for yourself, on behalf of a client, or acting as an agent, that constitutes a potential conflict of interest with the position to which you have been nominated.
Answer: In connection with the nomination process, I will consult with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Education Agency Ethics Official and will submit OGE Form 278 to the Office of Government Ethics to facilitate the identification of any potential conflicts of interest.
Question: Explain how you will resolve any potential conflict of interest that may be disclosed by your response to above items.
Answer: In connection with the nomination process, I will consult the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Education Designated Agency Ethics Official to identify potential conflicts of interest. Any potential conflicts of interest will be resolved in accordance with the terms of an ethics agreement that I will enter into with the Department's Designated Agency Ethics Official and that will be provided to this committee. I will resolve any potential conflicts of interest that arise during the course of my service with the Department of Education's Designated Agency Ethics Official.
Question: Do you intend to serve the full term for which you have been appointed or until the next Presidential election whichever is applicable?
Question: Do you agree to appear and testify before this Committee and any other duly constituted committee of the Senate to represent the office for which you have been nominated and to respond to issues that are of concern to the Congress?
Question: Please indicate whether you will sever all connections with your present employer, business firm, association or organization if you are confirmed by the Senate.
Question: Please state whether you have any plans after completing government service to resume employment, affiliation or practice with your previous employer, business firm associations or organization.
Answer: After government service, I do intend to return to my family business.
Question: Has a commitment been made to you for employment after you leave Federal service?
Question: Please list any lobbying activity during the past 10 years, regardless of whether or not you were registered as a lobbyist, in which you have engaged for the purpose of directly or indirectly influencing the passage, defeat or modification of any Federal legislation or of affecting the administration and execution of Federal law or policy.
Answer: I have never been registered as a federal or state lobbyist. In my capacity as a volunteer chairman of the American Federation for Children, I have met with Senators, Members of Congress, and members of the public in the past ten years to discuss school choice programs generally and the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and SOAR Act specifically. I have also authored opinion editorials and made public statements in support of federal school choice programs and education reform. See how Betsy DeVos responded to Senate questionnaire on conflicts of interest, lobbying | MLive.com: