October 04, 2017

Senator Warren Asks ED General Counsel Nominee to Submit Substantive Responses to Hearing Questions

Muñiz's Initial Responses to Warren Questions: "Rote" "Inadequate" "Stock Answers"

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called on Carlos Muñiz, President Trump's nominee for General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), to substantively respond to a series of questions regarding his legal perspective and interpretation of laws affecting ED programs and activities.

Senator Warren expressed disappointment with Mr. Muñiz's initial, "rote, obfuscatory" responses to the questions she submitted for the record following his nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last month.

"Your inability or unwillingness to provide basic answers raises questions about your understanding of the role of the General Counsel and the laws governing the Department's actions," wrote Senator Warren. "Your inadequate responses to questions at your confirmation hearing make your failure to respond to the written questions even more troublesome. At your hearing, you appeared to be unaware of major legal cases involving the Department of Education, its contractors, and Title IV colleges, including for-profit colleges," she continued.

Of the fifty-seven questions Senator Warren sent Mr. Muñiz following his confirmation hearing, over half of his answers were repetitive, nonresponsive, and lacking in substance.

If confirmed as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education, Mr. Muñiz would serve as the principal legal adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and would be responsible for overseeing the Department's ethics division. "Regrettably, with your repetitive and often meaningless stock answers to over half of my written questions, you have failed to provide any insight into your legal views, nor have you convinced me that you are prepared to ensure that the Department of Education fully follows and enforces the law," wrote Senator Warren.

Text of the letter is available here.
Mr. Muñiz's responses to Senator Warren's Questions for the Record are available here.