Home > posts > “Collegegate”: Obama Education Department to Track Private, Individualilzed IRS Records?
March 10th, 2011 5:43 pm
“Collegegate”: Obama Education Department to Track Private, Individualilzed IRS Records?
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Remember when the Obama Administration proposed thousands of new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents to enforce ObamaCare’s mandate that American businesses file 1099 tax forms every single time they spent over $600 with any supplier?  The resulting uproar was loud and justified.

Unfortunately, reports suggest that Obama’s Department of Education (DOE) similarly seeks to snoop through private IRS records to enforce its destructive “Gainful Employment Rule” against for-profit career colleges.

We at CFIF have chronicled the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to cripple for-profit colleges via that rule, which would limit financial aid to students attending career colleges based upon arbitrary income data.  Along the way, we reported allegations of collusion between DOE personnel and short-sellers who had wagered that for-profit college stocks would decline.  Those allegations were sufficiently grave to trigger investigation by Senators Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma) and Richard Burr (R – North Carolina).  Then, the GovernmentAccountability Office (GAO) withdrew, then revised and republished a defective study originally released last summer involving undercover “students” sent to capture information on for-profit colleges.  The GAO’s revisions all slanted in one direction – the original report inaccurately cast career colleges in an unfavorable light, while the revisions indicate that the GAO’s undercover students may have intended to entrap career college admissions personnel.  According to the GAO’s own estimate, only 1 percent of reports require correction, and the statistical likelihood that all of its flaws skewed in the same direction (unfavorably toward for-profit colleges) was 1 in 65,536.  Tellingly, the stock value of for-profit colleges reportedly fell 14%, or $4.2 billion, following the GAO report.

Now, instead of simply using aggregated, readily-available Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to enforce their Gainful Employment Rule, the DOE seeks to access private, individualized IRS records.  Not only does this intrude upon individual citizens’ private information, it serves to deter Americans from exercising free will in choosing the colleges that best fits their needs.  Additionally, as noted by Cesar Conda in The Washington Times, the Obama DOE’s effort constitutes a new get-rich scheme for the trial lawyer lobby:

The Department of Education should admit that it is using the Internal Revenue Service to send a not-too-subtle message to prospective students:  Attend a for-profit college, and risk that your private financial data may be analyzed to ensure that all your financial transactions are accounted for and allowed.  Thus, the Department of Education, rather than putting the interest of students first, is forcing hardworking adults to go through yet another hurdle to pursue upward mobility.  In their war against individual freedom and personal choice, the nanny bureaucrats never rest; they also roll out the red carpet for the trial lawyers. Clearly, the actual impact of such tracking of student incomes by the IRS will create a new business opportunity for class-action law firms, which will use these new student financial statistics, assembled and provided the Department of Education, to justify billion-dollar litigation.”

So in addition to crippling private career colleges that it considers politically unfavorable, the Obama Administration apparently wants to pore through students’ confidential IRS individual data.  Congress must maintain its current effort to defund this Obama Administration abuse, and Americans must support that effort and maintain its resolve.

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