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New Digital Ad Mocks DeVos Pay-to-Play History, Urges Viewers to Call on Senators to Recuse Themselves

January 19, 2017 | Laura Friedenbach

Senators on HELP Committee who took DeVos’s money for their campaigns are now set to vote on her confirmation next week

Ad is geo-targeted to senators’ home states

Money-in-politics reform groups End Citizens United and Every Voice today launched a new digital ad targeting senators who have taken campaign money from Betsy DeVos.  It is the latest component in the groups’ ongoing campaign to pressure the senators who have taken donations from DeVos to recuse themselves from voting on her nomination.

The ad, which features a mock job interview where the applicant hands the interviewers money in place of a resume, highlights Betsy DeVos’ history of pay-to-play politics and the senators’ conflicts of interest when evaluating her qualifications to serve as Secretary of Education.

At DeVos’ confirmation hearing, her role as a political donor was raised several times, including notably when Senator Bernie Sanders asked, “do you think, if you were not a multi-billionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions to the Republican party, that you would be sitting here today?”  Previously, DeVos had said of her donations that she has “decided…to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence.  Now I simply concede the point.  They are right.  We do expect some things in return.”

“Handing hundreds of thousands of dollars to your interviewer isn’t the way everyday Americans get their jobs.  And it’s not how Betsy DeVos should get hers,” End Citizens United Executive Director Tiffany Muller, said.  “These senators should put the public interest ahead of their personal politics.  They took money from Betsy DeVos to get elected, and she’s said she wants something in return.  That creates a clear conflict of interest.  They should recuse themselves.”

“With a nominee this unqualified, it’s hard to imagine Betsy DeVos would have been put up for the job without her family’s generous political giving,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice.  “Betsy DeVos has a history of spending huge amounts to push her own political agenda no matter the expense to others—and now she’s trying to ride that influence to high public office.  It’s wrong, and Senators who DeVos donated to should recuse themselves from voting on her nomination.”

Five senators who sit on the HELP Committee overseeing the confirmation hearing have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from the DeVos family.  They are Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Todd Young of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Richard Burr of North Carolina.  The geo-targeted digital ad campaign will run in their home states and in Washington, DC through the committee vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday next week.  It also supports a ‘Call Your Senator’ campaign that the groups are running by urging viewers call their senator’s office to demand their recusal.

Backup citation for the ad can be viewed here.

Script:
Interviewer #1: So, tell us about your qualifications
A woman sitting at a conference table across from three interviewers
The woman slides her a stack of cash across the table to the interviewer
Woman: Yes, it’s all right here
Interviewer #1: (Grinning) Looks great to me!
Interviewer #2: And why do you want the job?
The woman slides her another stack of cash across the table to Interviewer #2
Woman: I have plans
Interviewer #2: (Nodding) Makes sense to me
Interviewer #3: Welcome to Washington
Interviewer #1: I think you’ll fit right in
Woman smiles serenely and leans back in her chair
Woman: When do I start?
Woman shakes hands with interviewers
Chyron: 23 Senators took a million in campaign cash from the DeVos family. Now they want to vote on her confirmation. Tell your Senator #RecuseYourself (855) 326-1094

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