December 1, 2016

DeVos' group owes Ohio $5.3 million in fines

Poltico - A school-choice advocacy group headed by billionaire Betsy DeVos owes the state of Ohio more than $5.3 million for election law violations — a record fine that is now nearly a decade past due. DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Education Department.

The unpaid fine dates back to 2008, when All Children Matter — a group that lobbied for school-choice legislation and was run by DeVos — broke Ohio election law by funneling $870,000 in contributions through its nationwide PAC to its Ohio affiliate, according to the Ohio Elections Commission.

The state commission told POLITICO that DeVos' group initially asked Ohio if this sort of spending was permissible. When the state said no, DeVos' group did it anyway.

"I've been with the commission since 1996 and I've never had anyone else ask for an advisory opinion and then proceed to not do what the opinion said," said Philip Richter, executive director and staff attorney at the Ohio Elections Commission.

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