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The Justice Department charged at least 50 people on Tuesday in a college entrance scheme that involved crimes dating back to 2011.

The big picture: In what U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling called the "largest college admittance scam ever charged by the Department of Justice," some defendants allegedly bribed athletic coaches and administrators to falsely portray their children as athletic recruits, while others bribed administrators to allow cheating on college-entrance exams.

  • Two actresses — Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" and Lori Loughlin of "Full House"— were charged alongside dozens of others.
  • An FBI official said during a press conference that approximately 300 special agents from the FBI and IRS set out to arrest 46 individuals this morning. At least 38 have been safely taken into custody, 7 are working toward surrender and 1 is being actively pursued. Among the people charged are 33 parents who paid "enormous sums" to ensure their children's' entrance and 9 coaches. Other parents are believed to have been involved.
  • Officials say parents spent between $200,000 to $6.5 million.
  • Lelling said that the colleges are not of interest in the ongoing investigation.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's youth turn left

Expand chart
Reproduced from John Della Volpe (Data: Exit polls, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research). Chart: Axios Visuals

Gen Xers have always been a swing voting group, but their kids — Gen Z, sometimes called Zoomers — overwhelmingly back Democrats.

What they're saying: "Generational replacement will not be kind to Trump’s Republican Party," John Della Volpe, polling director at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, and CEO of SocialSphere, told me.

Mike Allen, author of AM
11 mins ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
31 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.