Former Education Sec'y Bennett on College Admissions Scandal: Americans Right to Be Shocked and Disturbed
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett explained Wednesday why he believes the college admissions scandal is generating such enormous outrage and interest among the American people.
Federal authorities announced charges Tuesday against more than 50 individuals, including "Full House" star Lori Loughlin and "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman, for an alleged scheme in which wealthy parents paid bribes to facilitate their children's admission into some of the country's top universities.
The alleged scam -- which placed students into top colleges such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas -- was run by William Rick Singer, from California, who helped parents get their children admission through bribes, court documents unsealed in Boston showed. Officials have been investigating the case for more than a year.
Singer, who authorities said will plead guilty to racketeering, ran the charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, which received $25 million in total to guarantee the admissions, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said during a Tuesday news conference. The charitable foundation was allegedly used as a front to run the scam.
Bennett, host of "Wise Guys" on the Fox Nation streaming platform, told Bill Hemmer he's been struck by how the story has resonated with people.
He explained that many Americans have always known that "people with resources have advantages" in terms of being able to move to preferred school districts or pay for private tutors or for a private school tuition.
"What shocked people here was the outright fraud, the cheating, the degree to which will go to advance their children's interests. That's rigging the system and the American people react viscerally to that and they're correct to react viscerally to that. It's a terrible thing," he said.
Authorities said Huffman made a "purported charitable contribution of $15,000...to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme" in order to facilitate admission for her daughter, while Loughlin and her husband are alleged to have agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 to win admission for their daughters into USC.
Bennett, who served as Education Secretary under Ronald Reagan, said he takes calls often from parents on his radio show and podcast asking for advice on colleges for their kids.
"To Americans, college is the way up, it's the way to upward mobility, to succeed. To think that the system is being gamed to this degree really shocks and disturbs people," he said, adding that Loughlin and Huffman are getting the most attention, but there were CEOs and "very established people" alleged to be involved as well.
Watch more above from "America's Newsroom."