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Mittens Loves Full Sail University: His Son Does Business With The Owners

Listen to these consultants (Democratic and Republican) talk about how important pro-private sector politics is as they talk to members of the for-profit education industry about how to manipulate members of Congress The Republic Report

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Listen to these consultants (Democratic and Republican) talk about how important pro-private sector politics is as they talk to members of the for-profit education industry about how to manipulate members of Congress

The Republic Report continues to do an excellent job in ferreting out the many conflicts of interest between politicians and their support for for-profit colleges. This one's especially interesting because Lee Fang tells us Tagg Romney is involved with the private equity firm behind Full Sail University:

When asked about his plan for higher education, Mitt Romney has taken to endorsing the for-profit higher education industry, even singling out a specific college business, Full Sail University. When speaking with a local newspaper before the Iowa caucus, he volunteeredFull Sail and other for-profit colleges as an answer to the rising costs of college tuition. He has also suggested Full Sail when speaking to college students in both New Hampshire.

Full Sail, like many for-profit colleges, is an odd choice for a conservative. These schools depend on billions in taxpayer aid, much of it wasted on advertisements and bonuses for executives. And as many have demonstrated, companies like Full Sail have a less than stellar track record when it comes to future employment and debt for their students.

As the New York Times pointed out, Full Sail is owned by a private equity firm called TA Associates, which is run by C. Kevin Landry, a major donor to Mitt Romney’s super PAC. According to Bloomberg News, Landry has now given $100,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC blanketing the airwaves in Republican primary states.

But what hasn’t been reported until now is the Romney family business connection to Full Sail. In 2008, Mitt Romney’s oldest son Taggfounded Solamere Capital, a “fund of fund” investment company that offered clients the unique opportunity to co-invest with an elite set of private equity firms. Many of the private equity firms connected to Solamere, it turns out, are prominent political allies of Tagg’s father. The line between business and politics becomes even more hazy given the fact that Mitt Romney and his wife provided a $10 million investment with Tagg’s firm, and Romney’s top campaign fundraising operative, Spencer Zwick, doubles as an executive with Solamere.

On a prospectus of Solamere Capital, obtained by the Boston Globe, Tagg indicated that his clients would have a chance to invest with companies owned by TA Associates, the firm that owns Full Sail.

Remember, for-profit colleges are a truly bipartisan scandal. Democrats helped fend off even modest attempts by the administration to reform the industry; it seems likely a scandal involving for-profits schools and Olympia Snowe's husband had something to do with her decision not to run for reelection. Both sides of the aisle throw money at these schools, and of course the schools throw money right back.

These same schools suck up half of all school funding for vets, but deliver few grads. This Romney connection is just one more example of how shameless the people who push these schools really are.

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