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OBAMA’S BEST FRIEND’S FOR-PROFIT UNIVERSITY FACES FEDERAL INVESTIGATION

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Back in 2015, the University of Phoenix was hit with an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. At the time, the University of Phoenix was considered one of the largest and most high-profile for-profit colleges in the country.

The initial investigation was centered around the school’s parent company – Apollo Education Group, looking into the company’s advertising uses for potential deceptive practices with the intent to lure new prospective students. Through the course of the probe, Apollo was required to turn over a large swath of documents dealing with their marketing, tuition, and military recruitment practices going back to January 2011.

These sort of complaints regarding deceptive marketing by for-profit schools are not new, as many schools of all sizes have repeatedly received such accusations including misrepresenting graduation rates, job prospects, and other information in the effort to recruit new students and continue to see profitability. This initial inquiry was part of a series of regulations implemented by the previous administration under former President Obama.

The Obama administration implemented a program through the Department of Education as of July 1, 2015, known as the “gainful employment rule.” This rule cut off federal student loans to for-profit programs that have too many graduates fail to get “good” jobs after graduation and was expected to cut funds to a significant amount of higher education and job training programs.

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As part of this series of investigations, major for-profit chain ITT Educational Services was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission among other prominent for-profit schools.

More than two years into the initial investigation, the University of Pheonix is still undergoing a federal investigation. This comes even after a private equity firm with close ties to Obama made a deal to purchase the for-profit college.

The Daily Caller reports –

“The Vistria Group is run by Martin Nesbitt, who’s been described as Obama’s best friend and is also chairman of the Obama Foundation. The Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, agreed to be bought in February 2016, and Vistria completed the $1.1 billion purchase a year later.”

Nesbitt and Obama were close friends dating back to 1980 when he played basketball for Princeton University, playing for the same team as Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother. According to the Chicago Tribune, Nesbitt is known to play basketball and golf with Obama even still today. He also acted as the treasurer for the Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and he currently heads the Obama Foundation. The Obama Foundation is currently tasked with planning Obama’s presidential library in Chicago. Nesbitt’s wife, Anita Blanchard, is the obstetrician who assisted Michelle in delivering Malia and Sasha Obama at birth.

The Daily Caller explains that “the deal included an agreement that Vistria Chief Operating Officer Tony Miller would serve as chairman of Apollo Education board of directors. Miller had previously served as the deputy secretary of education for the Obama administration, which was cracking down against for-profit universities through his tenure and beyond.

But despite the Trump administration’s sharp rollback of Obama-era regulations, the Federal Trade Commission has continued its investigation into the University of Phoenix.

Miller pledged Vistria would operate Apollo Education “with the highest ethical standards” when his firm purchased the company. At the time, the company faced multiple federal and state investigations for deceptive or unfair marketing practices.”

The University of Phoenix has seen its enrollment drop from nearly a half million to about 140,000 in 2016 in wake of Obama investigations and regulations against the university. The Obama administration’s regulations also forced Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute — two major for-profit universities — to close their doors in 2014 and 2016, respectively.Vistria’s purchase took Apollo Education private following 22 years as a publicly-traded company. The move meant Apollo Education no longer had to file regular public reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the university’s activities, including the status of the federal and state investigations it faced.“How opaque this all is now,” said higher education authority Dahn Shaulis, who publishes College Meltdown, a data and research driven site that monitors universities. Shaulis, who is critical of for-profit universities, told TheDCNF that all meaningful information has dried up after Nesbitt took the company private.

“Previously, you really had a good idea of what their enrollment was, looking at their balance sheet and their extensive SEC reports,” Shaulis told The DCNF. “Now, that information has just disappeared.”

Apollo described the detailed and ongoing investigation it was facing in its 2016 10-K annual report.  This is the last report filed by Apollo as a publically traded company. In the report, Apollo disclosed their receipt of an “civil investigative demand” from the FTC in July 2015, explaining the commission wanted “to determine if certain unnamed persons, partnerships, corporations or others have engaged or are engaging in deceptive or unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in the advertising, marketing or sale of secondary or postsecondary educational products or services or educational accreditation products or services.”

Apollo further elaborated explaining the FTC inquiry was looking for information on a “broad spectrum of the business and practices of University of Phoenix,”  detailing how the commission was reviewing its “marketing, recruiting, enrollment, financial aid, tuition and fees, academic programs, academic advising, student retention, billing and debt collection, complaints, accreditation, training, military recruitment and other compliance matters.”

Apollo also stated emphatically they were making every effort to comply and cooperate with the FTC probe, but it had no intention of complying with the commission’s demand for documents dating back to January 2011. This, in turn, prompted the FTC to file a Motion to Compel in the District of Arizona. U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton agreed and issued an order to comply with the FTC’s demands in January 2016.

Apollo then informed its investors in the  2016 10-K report to the SEC that it “cannot predict the eventual scope, duration or outcome of the [FTC] investigation at this time.”

The Daily Caller reports of how the state of California also joined in the investigation into Apollo when “then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat, began California’s probe into Apollo Education in August 2015 with an “investigative subpoena” issued against the company, which focused on “its recruitment of military personnel and veterans.” Harris is now a U.S. senator and is reportedly preparing a presidential bid for the 2020 election.

The California subpoena required the university “to produce documents and information regarding the business and practices of University of Phoenix relating to members and former members of the U.S. military and California National Guard, including marketing, recruiting, billing, financial aid, accommodation and other services for military personnel,” according to the 10-K.

There were revolving door and conflict-of-interest problems with Vistria and Apollo Education’s leadership, Politico reported in 2016. The outlet noted that “several key players are either close to top [Obama] administration officials, including the president himself, or are former administration insiders — especially Miller, who was part of the effort to more tightly regulate for-profit colleges at the very agency now charged with approving the ownership change.”

Nesbitt and Miller also turned to a number of prominent Democrats to lend it lobbying and legal influence when it faced a number of problems stemming from the Obama administration.

The Department of Education substantially weakened the student aid Title IV capital requirements from 25 percent to 10 percent, according to news reports. The 25 percent requirement imperiled the $1.1 buyout billion deal.

“I think every way you look at this transaction is questionable and suspicious,” Bush administration-era Department of Education Assistant Secretary Diane Jones, told the New York Post when the new capital terms were announced.

To help him with his relations with Congress, Nesbitt hired Jonathan Samuels — a former Obama White House aide who focused on lobbying Congress. He also hired Amy Brundage, Obama’s White House deputy communications director to head Vistria’s communications through her role with public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker, according to USA Today.

David Halperin, an outspoken critic of what he calls “predatory” for-profit universities, disclosed in a June 2016 report that a number of other prominent Democratic operatives also work for Apollo Education. He identified two Hillary Clinton bundlers, Steve Elmendorf and Alfred Mottur, who served as lobbyists for the company as well as former Sen. Harry Reid senior advisor Jake Perry, who also served as a lobbyist.

Apollo further enlisted Jaime Gorelick, Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, to fight a 2015 Department of Defense ban on recruitment and enrollment of active duty military personnel after the Pentagon charged that the university violated a 2012 Obama executive order banning deceptive and aggressive recruitment practices by for-profit universities.

Gorelick was hired as a partner and chair of the regulatory and government affairs department at the Washington law firm of WilmerHale.

In the acquisition, Nesbitt partnered with Apollo Global Management (which has no relation to Apollo Education) — an aggressive private equity firm to buy the university. The company describes itself as an “opportunistic investor” dedicated to “opportunistic buyouts and build-ups, corporate carve-outs and distressed investments,” according to the company’s website.

The Apollo Global’s strategy commonly includes massive employee layoffs and the closure of operations, according to the company’s website, which has occurred since the acquisition.”

USA Today ranks the University of Phoenix as one of “America’s Top 20 most-hated companies,” as of a February 2018 report. This stems from the many investigations, the layoffs, and campus closures causing significant hardship for a great many people. This dubious “honor” is shared with other scandalous companies with less than savory reputations for misconduct and impropriety such as Weinstein Company, Equifax, and Wells Fargo.

 

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White House Guests KNEEL During National Anthem, Trump Makes Them Immediately Regret It

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The Marine Corp band in their bright red uniforms were on the south balcony of the White House on a bright, sunny Tuesday in Washington, DC. The Army Chorus sang, beginning the event with ‘America the Beautiful’ and concluded with ‘God Bless America’. At least two people who were guests at President Trump’s Celebration of America event yesterday knelt, showing exactly why so many Americans are ticked over the National Anthem controversy.

The event replaced a celebration at the White House in honor of the Super Bowl win for the Philadelphia Eagles. These two disrespectful idiots took a knee as the “Star Spangled Banner” rang out across the South Lawn of the White House. Simply disgraceful. These aren’t social justice warriors… these are unpatriotic jerks.

A video was posted to Twitter by a reporter for SVT, the Swedish national public TV broadcaster. It shows a man, wearing a light blue button down, kneeling as the National Anthem played, before clapping and ultimately coming to his feet after the song finished. I guess he thought that was his five minutes of fame or something.

What it really amounted to was making a fool out of himself internationally. President Trump showcases all of these liberal dimwits for what they are… America-hating, radical leftists who are far more interested in hating our brave police officers and our country than they are in respecting America and taking national pride in their country and President.

When President Trump took the podium, he blew his audience away with his love for our country, military, police, flag and the National Anthem. He made every single person who disrespects them like this look like the small, craven liberals that they really are. The man, who did not identify himself, left the event immediately after the United States Marine Band performed the anthem, according to a news anchor for TV2 Denmark. Gee, crawling away with his tail between his legs like the lowly cur he his. Guess he couldn’t stand patriotism after he showed how much he hates his own country.

There was a second man who was pictured kneeling as well. That was posted to Twitter by a CNN White House producer. He was wearing a light blue checkered shirt and had a little American flag. This guy was right up front. He was also apparently the same person who reportedly heckled Trump. That guy was roundly booed by everyone around him. CNN’s analyst April Ryan posted false news on Twitter yesterday claiming people were booing Trump when it was the heckler they went after. She eventually retracted what she said after her own colleagues called her out on the lie. “Stop hiding behind the armed services and the National Anthem,” the guy yelled to a chorus of boos, according to the Daily Mail. “Let’s hear it for the Eagles.” “Go home,” one person shouted at the heckler.

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The President didn’t engage the heckler, but looked in his direction and pursed his lips. He looked like he wanted to smack him. Right there with ya.

President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House after they at first said they had more than 70 players coming to the People’s House to celebrate. By this week, that number had dropped to less than ten and then to only one player. They kept trying to change the date to one where President Trump would be out of the country. I don’t blame the President in the least for canceling the visit. That was totally appropriate. If you insist on being ungrateful and insulting a sitting President of the United States, then you don’t deserve the honor of going to the White House period.

Trump claimed on Monday that the team disagreed “with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.” Eagles players denied that accusation, pointing out that no one on the team knelt for the anthem during last season. But that has nothing to do with how each individual on the team states his beliefs and shows his disrespect for President Trump.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the team of a “political stunt” just minutes before Tuesday’s alternative event began, claiming the players had chosen to “abandon their fans.” That’s exactly what they did. “If this wasn’t a political stunt by the Eagles franchise then they wouldn’t have committed to attend the event and then backed out,” she said in her Tuesday press briefing. “And if it wasn’t a political stunt, they wouldn’t have attempted to reschedule the visit while the President was overseas.”

Trump was brief in his remarks and only spoke for about four minutes. He began by explaining why it’s an issue of patriotism for Americans to stand for the National Anthem. “We love our flag and stand for our National Anthem,” Trump said to great applause from the crowd on the South Lawn of the White House. “We stand to honor our military and to honor country and to honor the fallen heroes who never made it back home.” Yes, we do… and those that don’t can take a hike.

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Melania Unveils This Year’s White House Christmas Decorations That Libs Are SURE To Hate

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Melania Trump’s first year in office was marked by immense criticism of our incredible first lady, who in the eyes of the Trump family’s numerous detractors, Melania could do nothing right, or at least as well as her predecessor, Michelle Obama. This included her full Christmas decor plan, which was stunning in silver and white, and a beautiful modern take on the same tired style that Michelle un-creatively came up with.

This year’s decorations will likely be no different, if not worse.

Last year, liberals claimed she decked the halls in depression and gloom, likening it to looking more like a haunted house than a holiday home. So, what will they say about this year’s new look?

Chicks On The Right reports:

FLOTUS doesn’t just slay on the fashion front. Her decorating skills are off the charts. (Yes, yes– I know she didn’t do this by herself, but if you really believe she didn’t have a say, you’re nuuuuuuuuuuuuts.)

ANYWHO. She finally unveiled this year’s White House Christmas decorations, and they’re GORGEOUS.

You have no idea how much I want to stroll through those halls of beautifully decorated trees. Oh well. I’ll have to settle for the aisles of Hobby Lobby.

It all looks great. I’m obsessed. TY, that is all.

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