Less than two weeks away from the general election, Secretary of State Charlie Summers is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring career politician Olympia Snowe. As discussed in the recent article, “The Real Winner of the U.S. Senate Race”, all of this may not have occurred had Scott D’Amboise not come up to the plate and spent the better part of two years taking batting practice for the big day. While he never crossed home plate, it was the threat of his potential that led his original opponent to concede defeat. At one point in D’Amboise’s strong campaign, he created a national controversy when he called on Senator Snowe to resign if it proved her husband’s company was involved in fraud. Her husband, former Governor Jock McKernan, is presently the chairman of the Education Management Corporation, which is under investigation for a series of allegations.
Education Management Corporation is the second largest for-profit college company in America, second to the Apollo Group. EDMC operates over one-hundred individual schools, in addition to branches. Earlier this year, according to financial disclosure reports, Senator Snowe continues to be the wealthiest member of Maine’s congressional delegation. The largest asset the couple has together is common stock in EDMC, worth between $5 and $25 million.
Over the years, EDMC has faced a series of allegations ranging from fraud to illegal recruitment practices. Now they face a major problem because of a couple brave whistleblowers. The first whistleblower has accused the company of engaging in “a multi-faceted, corporate-wide scheme to enroll as many students as possible, and to keep them on the rolls for as long as possible, without regard to (their) qualifications or … likelihood of graduation or career placement, in order to maximize financial aid.” Yesterday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy recommended four of the six allegations have enough evidence to advance. One of the four advancing allegations, involving sales-based incentives, should advance as part of a second whistleblower suit, which has precedence due to its earlier filing. The second whistleblower suit is a case being pursued in eleven states, as well as by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Things would appear to be rough for the former Governor and his retiring wife. Did the exit of one of Maine’s most beloved politicians have as much to do with bitter partisanship, which mysteriously never existed at all before 2012, as we are led to believe? Or is there something more there?
This was the point Scott D’Amboise was making back in May, when he openly joined those concerned about the case. Even if there is nothing corrupt, there is the appearance of something dirty. The richest of Maine’s four-person delegation to Congress is married to the chairman of company facing some heavy allegations, a company that both of these individuals have stock in. Regardless of whether or not there is something up, something looks wrong. And in politics, perception is everything.
After all the cries from the establishment, mainstream media, and cheerleaders of Senator Snowe, it would appear D’Amboise was not nearly as crazy as everyone made him out to be. There is something wrong, and the judges agree in allowing the federal case to advance. The allegations of two whistleblowers will be moving forward. D’Amboise said that if something was wrong, then Senator Snowe should resign. Something appears wrong and it would also appear that the former U.S. Senate candidate is vindicated.
Now the question lingers, should Senator Olympia Snowe resign?