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Rep. Chris Van Hollen airs new ad about loan scandal

Rep. Chris Van Hollen's campaign for Maryland's open Senate seat is airing a new television ad that calls attention to an education loan scandal he helped expose more than a decade ago as new member of Congress.

The Montgomery County Democrat was an early proponent of closing a loophole created in the 1980s that guaranteed student loan lenders a 9.5 percent interest rate on certain loans -- a return that became lucrative for lenders when market rates fell. Taxpayers spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make up the difference.

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"When Wall Street was making outrageous profits off the student loan program, only one candidate for U.S. Senate stood up, ending their sweet heart deal and made sure more funds went to help students," the ad's narrator says. "Chris Van Hollen, results that make a difference for our future."

Van Hollen did receive credit from The Washington Post's editorial board and others for raising the issue at the time. To be fair, his leading opponent in the race, Rep. Donna F. Edwards of Prince George's County, was not elected until four years later.

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Both candidates are running for the seat that will be left open by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's retirement.

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