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Academia’s funds flow to Democrats

Top 10 donors’ share is 77%

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Democratic candidates are the chief recipients of campaign contributions from educators during this year's midterm elections, as shown by a report published Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

The 10 universities and other educational organizations whose employees donated the most provided an average of 77 percent of that money to Democratic candidates, with no institution giving as much as 35 percent to Republican candidates. Indeed, one of the top 10, the Princeton Review, donated exclusively to Democratic candidates.

"Democrats are the primary beneficiaries of educators' federal political donations. Employees at nine educational institutions or systems have collectively donated $100,000 or more to Democrats," stated the CRP in its report.

"Employees of the University of California public university system topped the list of Democratic contributors, donating $414,351 to Democrats so far in the 2010 election cycle."

No organization whose employees directed 50 percent or more of their donations to Republican candidates managed to give collectively more than $100,000, and nine of the institutions in the top 10 donated more than $100,000 just to Democratic candidates.

"This study should surprise absolutely no one," said Evan Gassman, program officer with the conservative Young America's Foundation. "The notion that our nation's colleges and universities are unabashedly liberal is nothing new."

Mr. Gassman noted that his organization publishes its own annual report on the political biases of commencement speakers at the nation's top-ranking universities, and said that "they are almost always liberal, so the fact that the administrators are donating mostly all their contributions to Democrats is not news."

For-profit educational institutions are legally allowed to donate money as an organization, and 10 of them were among the top 50 donors. These institutions are generally trade schools, and tend to have an active part in lobbying on behalf of their shareholders.

University professors and administrators are the biggest individual donors, with most of the top 50 coming from universities, although the seventh-highest individual donor, Aaron Heyerdahl, is a woodworking teacher at Lake Champlain Waldorf School, a private K-12 school.

"In an attempt to discover why some educators are this cycle donating five- and six-figure sums to federal political interests, the Center contacted the top 10 individual donors, who primarily donated to Democrats, as well as the top five individual donors to the Republican Party," the CRP said in its report. "Eight of them did not return calls and e-mails. The others declined to comment or declined comment through spokespeople."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, received $175,019, the highest total amount any candidate received from the education sector.

The top Republican in the report, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of California, received $127,751.

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