Betsy DeVos’ Delayed Financial Disclosures Heighten Accountability Concerns

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ 2018 financial disclosure form, which was finally released in early December after months of delay, raises a number of questions about potential conflicts of interest and ethics compliance.

In a joint letter sent to DeVos this week, American Oversight, the National Student Legal Defense Network and the Revolving Door Project wrote, “Not only was your financial disclosure form released far later than required, a dozen revisions were apparently required in order to make your submission accurate, which is a highly unusual practice.” DeVos originally submitted the form in May, before it went through a dozen revisions over the next four months. Such forms are required to be available to the public within 30 days of submission.

The groups seek answers to multiple questions, including information about assets DeVos was required to divest within 90 days of her February 2017 confirmation, and whether any of her current financial holdings involve for-profit higher education institutions, student loan companies, or the firearms or private-security industries. “Americans should not require a degree in forensic accounting to have trust in their government,” the letter states.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also has yet to release his annual financial disclosure form. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s financial disclosure reports, the release of which was delayed until nearly two weeks after his appointment in November, drew scrutiny from oversight groups. American Oversight is continuing to investigate Whitaker’s political and financial conflicts of interest, as well as the influence of outside groups on Department of Education policy.

See the letter below: