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Senator Tom Harkin And Education Reform: Whose Side Is He On?

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) penned an opinion piece for Politico on Monday evening titled, “Updating No Child Left Behind.” In it, Senator Harkin argues the No Child Left Behind legislation needs an overhaul that retains “its commitment to educating all children to high standards, while overhauling elements of the law that have proved ineffective.” Harkin’s measures for reform sound very reasonable, including focusing on “teaching and learning, not testing and sanctioning,” and eliminating “one-size-fits-all approaches” by replacing existing law with “state-designed accountability systems.” Further, Harkin writes, “the bill aims for a federal role that does fewer things – more effectively.” Wow, he almost sounds more like a Republican here than a liberal Democrat.

Few would argue that Harkin, as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions, is a central figure in efforts to reform education. And to many, Senator Harkin seems the ideal man for the job.

Education Reform: Part IX – Meet Harkin’s Donor, Ken Mazik

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions, has enjoyed the support of a lot of donors over the years, but one of his biggest supporters is Kenneth M. Mazik. You won’t find him listed as such on the Center for Responsive Politics website though. That’s because Mazik has contributed or directed contributions exceeding $100,000 to Harkin’s affiliated campaign and leadership PAC committees through a maze consisting of his family, employees, and organizations. On at least one occasion, Harkin even used Mazik’s private plane.

So who is Ken Mazik and how can he afford to lavish Harkin with his largesse. He made his initial fortune at the race track, owns his own private plane, estates in Delaware and Florida, and has enough to spend lavishly on art and cigars.

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