DEBARRED SHORT-SELLER WITH CHECKERED PAST lobbied against for-profit colleges:

Before a jury found Manuel Asensio had illegally defamed a company whose demise he would profit from, and before securities regulators barred him from employment in the banking industry for the rest of his life, he used to take down companies with savage reports under the banner of his investment bank, Asensio & Company.

Then, as an “activist” short seller, he would compile damning research on a business, take a market bet its stock would go down, publish his report, and profit when it did go down.

Nowadays, Asensio is the director of the Alliance for Economic Stability (AES), a non-profit organization lobbying the Education Department on for-profit or “career” colleges, one of a group of short sellers who have teamed up with the Obama administration and a slew of left wing interest groups to push for strict regulations of the sector. . . . The revelations also come on the heels of charges by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that Education Department officials were “tipping hedge funds” with inside information, allowing them to take trading positions ahead of the market. Doing so, Coburn said at a Senate hearing last week, “is highly unethical and if proven to be the case, some people ought to be going to jail in the Department of Education.”

The more I look into this, the sleazier it looks. At first I thought the Administration was just trying to protect traditional colleges and universities, since they’re key Democratic constituencies and fundraising sources. But it seems that there’s far more than that involved.