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Candidate to Return For-Profit Officials' Money

October 26, 2018

A former Minnesota lawmaker who is running to be the state’s next attorney general will return $24,500 in campaign contributions he received from donors affiliated with a pair of troubled for-profit universities.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Republican Doug Wardlow received donations from 10 people affiliated with Globe University and Minnesota School of Business.

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled last year that the schools issued thousands of loans illegally and charged unlawfully high interest rates. In 2016, a judge found that they had defrauded students. State Attorney General Lori Swanson had earlier sued the schools for consumer fraud and illegal loans.

State finance records show that each of the donors gave Wardlow either $2,000 or $2,500 last month, the Star Tribune reported. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party, said 10 people, including Globe owner Terry Myhre, donated to Wardlow; Jeanne Herrmann, Globe’s former COO, gave $2,500.

Herrmann told the newspaper that she and others have consistently supported Republican candidates for state and federal office, both through campaign contributions and fund-raisers.

The two for-profits, which share a common owner in the Myhre family, saw their federal aid payments blocked in 2016, amid a broader Obama administration crackdown on for-profits. As a result, they began winding down operations at their 19 locations in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The business now operates in Wisconsin as Broadview University, with Herrmann as CEO.

A recent Star Tribune/Minnesota Public Radio poll found that Wardlow, a former one-term member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, holds a seven-percentage-point lead over his Democratic rival for attorney general, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison.

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