In this case, Warren was talking about the very rich who would be subject to slightly higher taxes to pay for the lower student loan interest rates. But who Republicans are really working for in opposing Warren's effort is the country's largest originator of federally insured student loans, Sallie Mae, which has thrown its weight behind a foundation that supports Warren's chief think-tank critic on the issue, Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution. David Dayen "puts it all together.
[I]t’s always worth following the money. And Chingos gives you that road map at his own website, where he lists eight research grants he has received, totaling $1.34 million in all, from several conservative organizations. This includes $500,000 from the Lumina Foundation, which has close ties to Sallie Mae, the corporation that stands to lose the most from Sen. Warren’s refinancing bill. […]Chingos also gets funding from other right-wing organizations, but Sallie Mae/Lumina connection is clearly the most problematic, because it's Sallie Mae who benefits the most by high interest rates on student loans. This refinancing plan would hit their bottom line, significantly.
But the more troubling donation to Chingos’ research is the $500,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation, because of its ties to Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest provider of private student loans, and a leading student loan servicer through its subsidiary Navient. Lumina was created in 2000, when USA Group, then the largest administrator of private student loans, sold the bulk of its assets to Sallie Mae, and restructured the rest into a private foundation. The founding chairman of Sallie Mae became the founding chairman of the Lumina Foundation, and four directors of Lumina come from the Sallie Mae board.
Chingos and Lumina have multiple ties. He submitted a paper for the “Lumina Ideas Summit” this April. Lumina president and CEO Jamie Merisotis blurbed Chingos’ 2009 education policy book. And there’s the $500,000 in grant money.