Obama used his executive powers to attack industries to lower the
value of certain companies, allowing his friends in the private
sector to swoop in and buy them up at reduced prices, according to
Peter Schweizer’s new book Secret
Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their
Families and Friends.
book, released Tuesday, said Obama and his administration would
deem industries either destructive to the environment or
exploitative for the financial and professional gain of his
friends, including industries such as coal mining, offshore
drilling, cash advance companies, and for-profit colleges.
book highlighted Marty Nesbitt and Harreld Kirkpatrick III, both
former basketball players and close friends of the Obamas, who
launched their private equity investment firm Vistria in sync with
Obama’s re-election in 2012.
other investment funds that avoid highly regulated industries,
Vistria was specifically focused on the fields that Obama was busy
curious pattern began to emerge,” Schweizer said in his book.
“Obama and his administration would attack industries with
government power, which led to substantially lower valuations for
these companies. Nesbitt and Vistria, or others close to Obama,
could then acquire those assets for pennies on the dollar.”
book said one of the most visible targets of this scheme was the
for-profit higher education industry. Obama concluded in 2013 that
for-profit schools such as University of Phoenix, ITT Technical
Institute, and DeVry University victimized students.
been preyed upon very badly by some of these for-profit
institutions,” Obama said in 2013 about students who attended
these schools. “Their credit is ruined, and the for-profit
institution is making out like a bandit.”
University of Phoenix was hit hard by Obama's action when he
ordered the Federal Trade Commission, among other government
agencies, to crack down on for-profit schools.
being suspended in 2015 following an investigation by the FTC,
Phoenix’s parent company, Apollo Education Group, was bought out
by three companies in 2016, including Vistria, for nine times less
than its value before the suspension.
book also said there were close links between Vistria and the
Department of Education, and said some department officials later
went to work for the investment firm.
example, Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller left the
department in 2013 to join Vistria, and deputy assistant to Obama
for legislative affairs Jon Samuels was also an early hire at the
meetings in which for-profit schools were discussed included
people who now work with Vistria. Miller participated in those
meetings, and so did Arne Duncan, the secretary of education who
would also end up working for the company.
described emails that he said show department officials were
talking to Wall Street investors and leaking information about