One Day Into His Campaign, Maryland Dem Gov Candidate Alec Ross Faces Criticism For Ties To Predatory Colleges

Just one day after announcing his candidacy for the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race, Democrat Alec Ross is already getting rough headlines. A new report reveals that Ross has extensive ties to for-profit colleges that have “overcharged and ruined the lives of thousands of hard-working Americans.”

The Huffington Post reports:

“…Ross’s website omitted, however, was Ross’s financial entanglement with some of America’s worst predatory for-profit colleges, institutions that have overcharged and ruined the lives of thousands of hard-working Americans.

Ross was a plenary session speaker at the June 2016 Career Education Colleges and Universities’ (CECU) annual conference. CECU is a trade association that serves the interests of the for-profit college industry.

Predatory for-profit colleges routinely take advantage of their students and US taxpayers, who foot the bill for tens of billions annually in federal student grants and loans to that sector. The Obama administration over eight years worked to implement reforms to prevent abuses by predatory for-profit colleges against students, many of them low-income veterans, single mothers, immigrants and others seeking better lives. The administration and leaders in Congress argued these schools have used billions of dollars in government assistance, but engage in deceptive recruiting, underspend on education and fail to deliver the promised training and jobs for their students. 

After leaving the State Department, Ross joined, in July 2013, the advisory board of Leeds Equity Partners, a private equity firm that is run by Jeffrey Leeds and invests in for-profit education companies. (Ross serves on several other corporate boards, according to his LinkedIn profile.) Leeds, who also has recruited Colin Powell and Bob Kerrey to join his ventures, is a longtime for-profit school investor and CECU board member…

The willingness of tech visionary Alec Ross to join Jeffrey Leeds’s private equity company and then deliver keynote remarks at the annual meeting of Leeds’s for-profit college trade association, endorsing an embattled, exposed predatory industry in exchange for fees, raises serious concerns. Ross had the research skills to study the depth of the misconduct at EDMC and in the for-profit college industry before he joined the Leeds company and before he addressed the CECU convention, but apparently he chose to look the other way.”

After four years of principled bipartisan leadership under Republican governor Larry Hogan, the last thing Marylanders need is Alec Ross – who has repeatedly been willing to “look the other way” when his associates prey on hard-working Americans – in charge.