A progressive authorities watchdog nonprofit group is asking Congress to research whether or not Training Secretary Betsy DeVos had any involvement in her brother’s efforts to spy on a Michigan lecturers union, HuffPost has realized.
Over the weekend, The New York Occasions reported that in 2017, DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, recruited an ex-spy to infiltrate a Michigan workplace of the American Federation of Academics. He did this work by way of Mission Veritas, a right-wing group that’s recognized to infiltrate media organizations and liberal teams in an try to gather doubtlessly damaging data. A spokesperson for DeVos informed Politico that “Secretary DeVos has completely nothing to do with this.”
However on Tuesday, the group Accountable.US wrote to high officers on the U.S. Home Committee on Oversight and Reform asking them to take a more in-depth look.
“The involvement of DeVos’ brother on this scheme to spy on a labor group of their shared residence state of Michigan raises severe questions on what function the Training Secretary performed in it, notably in gentle of DeVos’ historical past of hostility with the identical union,” the group wrote within the letter, a duplicate of which was shared with HuffPost.
DeVos has lengthy had a hostile relationship with lecturers unions. In 2018, she stated unions are “not likely targeted on what is correct for particular person college students” and have a “stranglehold on most of the politicians on this nation.” Her household has donated to quite a few anti-union teams, and he or she incessantly spars with Randi Weingarten, the nationwide chief of the American Federation of Academics.
“It stretches the creativeness to the breaking level to imagine her brother by no means at the least talked about his intel operation to her,” the group continued in its letter. “On the finish of the day, who would profit extra from this ill-gotten data than the Training Secretary at struggle with the union?”
Prince is known for founding a mercenary agency referred to as Blackwater whose workers had been caught killing Iraqi civilians. Since that point, he has labored intently with the Trump administration, enmeshing himself in among the administration’s greatest controversies.
Earlier than changing into schooling secretary, DeVos reportedly paid to “suppress Google search hits connecting her to her brother,” the Wall Road Journal reported in December.