Apr 17, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: The next phase of Varsity Blues

Actress Lori Loughlin leaves as her husband Mossimo Giannulli, in green tie at right, follows. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Not all the accused college admissions rigging parents are going gentle into that good night, even as federal law enforcement turn up the pressure on their children.

The big picture, from The Chronicle of Higher Ed: "[I]n the wake of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, many wonder whether the most elite institutions are more concerned with perpetuating privilege than contributing to the public good.”

Among the parents, those not pleading guilty are marshaling legal defenses that only millions can buy, Bloomberg reports.

  • "Ilene Jaroslaw, who once prosecuted federal crimes in New York, called the defense lawyers’ letter 'a declaration of war.'”
  • Between the lines: One couple "invoked a 1946 Supreme Court case ... in which a broker was accused of conspiring with 32 loan applicants ... The high court reversed the resulting convictions, noting the defendants had only the broker in common, not one another, and that there were at least eight separate conspiracies, not just one as alleged."

Meanwhile, certain teens the government suspects of knowing about the alleged conspiracy are getting "so-called target letters," the WSJ reports.

  • The letters "don’t mean the students or graduates who received them will face charges. However, they could prompt the recipients to speak to authorities and push parents to plead in the hopes of protecting their children from additional prosecution, said others knowledgeable about the case."
  • "Thirteen parents have agreed to plead guilty, with another in talks to do so, according to court filings, while 19 others have been indicted on conspiracy charges related to money laundering and mail or wire fraud."

The bottom line: We're in an unprecedented moment of public scrutiny on how Americans receive different life outcomes based on the circumstances of their birth.

  • If the parents of rich kids start to get off on charges despite being caught on tape, expect that uncomfortable spotlight on wealth and ethics (or the lack thereof) to get even brighter.

Go deeper: Bill McGlashan previews his defense in college bribery case

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Hannah Evans and Callie Lucas stand on the back of a C130 Hercules above the Marlborough Sounds in Blenheim, New Zealand.

  • "The RNZAF School to Skies [program] offers 40 young women from around New Zealand the opportunity to spend a week at Base Woodbourne near Blenheim to learn about all aspects of the aviation industry."
  • "The School to Skies [program], now it its third year, aims to encourage women to join the industry through practical experience."
2. What you missed
  1. 60 medical professionals were indicted today for issuing more than 350,000 illegal pain pill prescriptions, WashPost reports.
  2. Amazon will cease its domestic marketplace business in China within the next 90 days, redirecting attention to more profitable overseas ventures, as well as to the sale of goods and cloud services, Reuters reports.
  3. When astronaut Christina Koch comes back to Earth in February 2020, she will hold the record for the longest spaceflight ever by a woman at 328 days. Go deeper.
  4. The pigs were alive, sort of: Scientists have developed a tool they say is able to briefly restore circulation and some brain activity — but not consciousness or global electric functions — in the brains of pigs 4 hours after death. Details.
  5. White House adviser Ivanka Trump confirmed in an interview with AP that her father asked her if she would be interested in becoming president of the World Bank.
  6. Scoop: China recently declined to issue a visa to an informal adviser to President Trump on China policy. Go deeper.
3. 1 good thing: Twitter helps Louisiana churches

A GoFundMe campaign to support three historically black churches in southern Louisiana that burned in arson attacks has topped $1 million after influential Twitter users spread the word about the fundraiser, per the Washington Post.

  • Journalist Yashar Ali kicked off the outpouring of support yesterday, saying he did not want the churches to be forgotten amid the global focus on the fire at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Hillary Clinton, NBC's Seth Meyers, and journalist Soledad O'Brien were among the celebrities who amplified Ali's call for support — and sent in donations of their own.

Donate to the GoFundMe.

Mike Allen