Laureate: the Clintons' university scandal the media isn't discussing

Why not? Laureate Education paid Bill Clinton over $16 million between 2010-2014 to be an “honorary chancellor,” Jonathan Turley reminds us, even while the alleged diploma mill got repeatedly sued for fraud. Laureate Education even has a twist that Trump University does not — $55 million in State Department grants to another group run by Laureate’s founder during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, and while Bill got millions to be its front man.

So why isn’t the media pursuing both stories, Turley wonders?

Laureate Education has been sued over such programs as its Walden University Online offering, which many have alleged is a scam designed to bilk students of tens of thousands of dollars for degrees. Students says that they were repeatedly delayed and given added costs as they tried to secure degrees, leaving them deeply in debt.

The respected Inside Higher Education reported that Laureate Education paid Bill Clinton an obscene $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014 to serve as an honorary chancellor for Laureate International Universities. While Bill Clinton worked as the group’s pitchman, the State Department funneled $55 million to Laureate when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. That would seem a pretty major story but virtually no mainstream media outlet has reported it while running hundreds of stories on the Trump University scandal.

There was even a class action — like the Trump University scandal. Travis et al v. Walden University LLC, was filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland but dismissed in 2015. It is not clear why it was dismissed. However, the size of the contract to Clinton, the payment from State and the widespread complaints over alleged fraud should warrant a modicum of attention to the controversy. The controversy has many of the familiar complaints over fraudulent online programs that take advantage of hard working people.

Both Bloomberg and Brietbart have reported on the State Department grants to Douglas Becker, as well as Bill’s huge personal haul from Becker’s Laureate. Both followed up from Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book Clinton Cash, which researched tax records to uncover the cash flow, a flow that “exploded” during Hillary’s tenure at State:

Citing the foundation’s tax filings, Schweizer writes that while IYF had received government grants (mainly from the U.S. Agency for International Development) as far back as 2001, they “exploded since Bill became chancellor of Laureate,” accounting for the vast majority of the nonprofit’s revenue. In 2010, “government grants accounted for $23 million of its revenue, compared to $5.4 million from other sources. It received $21 million in 2011 and $23 million in 2012.” The link between International Youth Foundation and Laureate has not been previously reported, he said.

The Clinton campaign disputed Schweizer’s characterization. “This is yet another false allegation in a book that is fast being debunked,” said Brian Fallon, a campaign spokesman. “The International Youth Foundation was funded by the Bush administration, well before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. In fact, the group’s USAID funding actually went down in the year that she arrived at the State Department, not up.”

A Bloomberg examination of IYF’s public filings show that in 2009, the year before Bill Clinton joined Laureate, the nonprofit received 11 grants worth $9 million from the State Department or the affiliated USAID. In 2010, the group received 14 grants worth $15.1 million. In 2011, 13 grants added up to $14.6 million. The following year, those numbers jumped: IYF received 21 grants worth $25.5 million, including a direct grant from the State Department.

Perhaps IYF got some funding during the Bush administration, but the scale and the obvious personal linkage makes the Hillary years much more suspect. The confluence of Bill’s ridiculous level of pay for being Laureate’s frontman and the cash flow into IYF certainly doesn’t look like a coincidence. It may not be a provable quid pro quo in court, but this stinks from any other perspective. This kind of arrangements makes it clear how the Clintons managed to rake in over $57 million in personal income during the four years that Hillary ran State.

So why hasn’t the media focused more on the Laureate Education/IYF scandal? Occasionally it does pop up; Jazz noted it in September as part of Hillary’s email scandal, and Allahpundit alluded to it last night as well. In 2014, the Washington Post noted issues with Laureate in Latin America, while also pointing out that the Clintons were largely responsible for its large growth there. Otherwise, it’s been quiet.

Part of the reason for that is that Republicans haven’t talked much about it. Politico reported on Tuesday that Paul Manafort had been trying to get Trump to stop talking about Judge Gonzalo Curiel and to start attacking both Clintons on Laureate/IYF instead, while Corey Lewandowski wanted to continue attacking Curiel. The campaign later denied there was any such split, but either way it demonstrate why presidential campaigns have to have top-drawer communications management.

Team Trump could have set the news cycle to focus on that curious and potentially corrupt nexus of payoffs and taxpayer grants in which the Clintons and Laureate/IYF are enmeshed. That would have forced the media to take a harder look at the scandal and put the Clintons on the defensive. Instead, Trump and his team kept talking about his own potential scandal and attacked a federal judge who has nothing to do with the election. They wound up doing all sorts of damage to themselves and never laid a glove on the Clintons. Indeed, they practically wrote a series of attack ads for Team Hillary instead.

Clearly, the media doesn’t want to dig into Laureate and the Clintons. Unless they get forced into it, they never will.