04.18.18

Murray on Department Of Education General Counsel Nominee: “I’m Afraid Mr. Muniz at the Department of Education Will Only Be More Of The Same”

Murray urges colleagues to vote against the nomination of Carlos Muniz for General Counsel of the Department of Education

 

As Secretary DeVos continues to undermine protections for students, Murray voiced concerns about Muniz’s willingness to stand up to DeVos

 

FL Attorney General decided not to investigate Trump University while Muniz was Chief of Staff

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee delivered a speech on the Senate floor today, urging her colleagues to votes against the nomination of Carlos Muniz, Secretary DeVos’ nominee for the General Counsel of the Department of Education.

 

“…it’s clear Secretary DeVos needs an independent General Counsel who will stand up to her when laws are being bent or broken. But I am afraid Mr. Muniz has failed to convince me that is the kind of General Counsel he would be.”

 

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

 

“M. President, as General Counsel to the Department of Education, Mr. Muniz would be responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to Secretary DeVos. And her first year in office has shown how much she needs it… Time and time again, she has failed to uphold civil rights protections for students. She has tried to scale back the Office for Civil Rights, opened the door for schools to once again discriminate against transgender students, and rolled back guidance for schools on how to investigate campus sexual assault. Especially in this moment—when more and more women are coming forward and sharing their stories of harassment and assault—there is no excuse for those in power to attempt to sweep their stories under the rug.”

 

“He worked for a for-profit college company that preyed upon students and cheated them out of their education and savings. And he has a record of putting politics before students. He worked for the Florida Attorney General—who came under fire for accepting a political donation from President Trump—at the very same time she decided against investigating Trump University, a sham university that defrauded countless students by promising them everything and leaving them with nothing. Although Mr. Muniz and the Florida Attorney General didn’t stand up for students who were misled and defrauded by President Trump, many other states sued, and just last week—eight years after Trump University closed its doors—the $25 million settlement the President agreed to pay to his victims was just finalized—meaning some those cheated by the President—will start seeing relief. However, Mr. Muniz’s involvement in the Trump University case gives me great concern that at the Department of Education he will once again not to stand up for student loan borrowers defrauded by other predatory for-profit colleges.”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

 

“Thank you, M. President.

 

“I come to the floor today to urge my colleagues to vote against the nomination of Carlos Muniz as the Department of Education’s General Counsel.

 

“The Department of Education’s primary responsibility is to help schools educate our students and prepare them to be successful in life.

 

“A good education can open doors of opportunity for children who may not have thought their dreams were possible…

 

“And a good education can lift millions of families out of poverty and into the middle class.

 

“That’s certainly what a good education did for me and my family.

 

“So, as so many working families are struggling, we should be working to ensure every child can attend a good public school in their own neighborhood.

 

“We need to do more to ensure every student who wants to attend college can afford it, graduate and find a good paying job, and isn’t saddled with a mountain of debt.

 

“And it is absolutely critical that every student—not matter what age—is learning in a safe environment, free from discrimination, harassment, and violence.

 

“This should be at the core of our nation—that everyone has the right to a high quality education no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make.

 

“M. President, as General Counsel to the Department of Education, Mr. Muniz would be responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to Secretary DeVos.

 

“And her first year in office has shown how much she needs it.

 

“Secretary DeVos continues to push her extreme privatization agenda—even though millions of students, parents, and teachers have stood up and rejected it…

 

“And despite bipartisan agreement in Congress on our nation’s K-12 law, the Every Student Succeeds Act…

 

“Secretary DeVos is approving state plans that do not comply with all of ESSA’s guardrails…

 

“…guardrails that were agreed to by Republicans and Democrats in Congress to help ensure no student falls through the cracks.

 

“Secretary DeVos has rolled back protections for students and student loan borrowers—making it easier for predatory for-profit colleges to take advantage of students.

 

“And time and time again, she has failed to uphold civil rights protections for students.

 

“She has tried to scale back the Office for Civil Rights…

 

“Opened the door for schools to once again discriminate against transgender students…

 

“And rolled back guidance for schools on how to investigate campus sexual assault.

 

“Especially in this moment—when more and more women are coming forward and sharing their stories of harassment and assault…

 

“There is no excuse for those in power to attempt to sweep their stories under the rug.

 

“But by rolling back this guidance, Secretary DeVos allowed schools to put the burden back on survivors…

 

“…and by making it harder for them to trust they will be believed—I’m concerned that fewer women will come forward.

 

“M. President, it’s clear Secretary DeVos needs an independent General Counsel who will stand up to her when laws are being bent or broken.

  

“But I am afraid Mr. Muniz has failed to convince me that is the kind of General Counsel he would be.

 

“He worked for a for-profit college company that preyed upon students and cheated them out of their education and savings.

 

“And he has a record of putting politics before students…

 

“He worked for the Florida Attorney General—who came under fire for accepting a political donation from President Trump…

 

“…At the very same time she decided against investigating Trump University—a sham university that defrauded countless students by promising them everything and leaving them with nothing.

 

“Although Mr. Muniz and the Florida Attorney General didn’t stand up for students who were misled and defrauded by President Trump…

 

“Many other states sued, and just last week—eight years after Trump University closed its doors—the $25 million settlement the President agreed to pay to his victims was just finalized…

 

 “Meaning some of those cheated by the President—will start seeing relief.

 

“However, Mr. Muniz’s involvement in the Trump University case gives me great concern that at the Department of Education he will once again not to stand up for student loan borrowers defrauded by other predatory for-profit colleges.

 

“So, M. President—I’m afraid Mr. Muniz at the Department of Education will only be more of the same.

 

“For these reasons, I will be voting against Mr. Muniz’s nomination.

 

“And I urge my colleagues to do the same.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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