MADISON — Democratic attorney general candidate Susan Happ promises to crack down on for-profit colleges that she says prey on Wisconsin students and veterans.
Happ released a plan Friday that calls on partnering with attorneys general in other states and with federal agencies to find the best ways to address deceptive practices by unscrupulous for-profit colleges.
Setting aside, for a moment, the merit of the issue, why is Happ pushing this? There haven’t been any recent news stories about for-profit colleges preying on students. This hasn’t been brought up in the campaign until now. Why make an issue that very few people care about and that is on nobody’s radar a campaign push a month before the election?
Well, as Happ searches around among the pressing issues of the day to use in the campaign, the popular ones are all unfavorable to her. Push to crack down on illegal campaign activity? The unpopular John Doe investigation is continuing to look like the illegal and vindictive crusade of an out-of-control Democratic D.A. while the intended victim, Scott Walker, is advancing in the polls. Happ doesn’t want to attach her name to that.
Should Happ take the traditional “tough on crime” stance that voters find popular in candidates for Attorney General? That’s a hard place for Happ because then voters will take a look at her record as D.A. to see if she has been tough on crime. That record shows that Happ has a very checkered record with letting serious criminals off with a slap on the wrist.
Should Happ go after the ever-unpopular sex offenders -ooo, or even better – child sex offenders? Happ can’t do that. There are already two examples in the news of her being unbelievably soft on sex offenders as D.A. – including one with whom she had a financial relationship. She can’t bring that up.
So that’s why Happ is stuck hanging her hat on for-profit colleges with exactly a month to go until the election. It’s safe and doesn’t open the door to anything in her past. It is also not going to get anyone excited about her campaign. Meanwhile, it is a ploy to get the support of the employees in the UW system by going after UW’s competition. But she likely had most of their votes already.
As for the issue itself, whatever. Nobody wants businesses to be predatory, but it is also the responsibility of the consumers to educate themselves before buying an education. I suspect that there are plenty of consumers who feel like they got swindled by non-profit schools too.