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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.

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

Go deeper

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.