Given his strong condemnations of Wall Street generally and of investor-backed higher education companies in particular, the idea that Sen. Tom Harkin would sit down with a bunch of investors to talk about for-profit higher education — and that the host investment firm would charge a whopping $10,000 a head for the privilege of meeting the Iowa Democrat — was more than a little startling.
Yet that was exactly the tantalizing possibility that one Wall Street firm was dangling in front of its clients last week. "JNK Securities will host Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on September 20th at 2:30pm in NYC for a roundtable discussion," one of the firm’s managing directors wrote to a group of investors last Friday. "Discussion topics to include for profit higher education institutions and finance."
When one potential participant wrote to sign up for the event at a French bistro, the JNK official, Don Hood, said in a followup e-mail: "I can confirm you but for our DC Access events such as this we are charging $10k for attendance."