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Nine people were indicted Wednesday on federal charges of accessing President Barack Obama’s student loan records while they were employed for a Department of Education contractor in Iowa. The U.S. attorney’s office said a grand jury returned the indictments in U.S. District Court in Davenport.
All nine are charged with exceeding authorized computer access. They are accused of gaining access to a computer at a Coralville office where they worked between July 2007 and March 2009, and accessing Obama’s student loan records while he was either a candidate for president, president-elect or president.
U.S. attorney spokesman Mike Bladel referred questions to online copies of the indictments.
Both proposals, stuck in Congress for nearly a year, are gaining new momentum as Democrats contemplate facing voters in November without having delivered on any of Obama’s major policy objectives.
Key Senate Democrats initially balked at combining the health-reform bill with a measure that overhauls the nation’s student-loan program, but on Thursday they had warmed to the idea.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) had been one of the chief opponents because he feared the education proposal — which would free up billions in federal subsidies to private lenders as it increases funds for Pell Grants — would provoke procedural challenges from Republicans. But Conrad said the Senate parliamentarian suggested in a preliminary ruling that combining the bills could work, provided that the right balance on cost was found. “I’d say yes, we’re leaning toward it,” Conrad said.