With less than two weeks to go until midterm elections, students aren’t the only ones on campus engaged in the political process. Georgetown employees and professors have donated over $70,000 to politicians across the nation in the past two years, with the overwhelming percentage of the contributions headed to Democratic contenders.
According to OpenSecrets, 77 university employees – including faculty, associate vice presidents and even men’s basketball Head Coach John Thompson III – together donated 142 times in the past two years, accruing a total of $74,565.
Over 70 percent of the funds went toward Democratic candidates. $39,700 was given directly to the candidates, with an additional $12,665 donated to Democratic committees or political action committees affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Only 10 donations totaling $3,900 were made to Republican candidates, while two donations totaling $2,500 were given to Republican-affiliated PACs and Republican committees. Nonpartisan organizations received more than Republicans – almost $13,000 – from Georgetown employees, with much of the money going to professional medical associations.
Despite these trends, Georgetown’s Vice President of Federal Relations Scott Fleming, who made personal campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans, said that he did not believe the numbers indicated any institutional bias.
“When I came to Georgetown, when a Republican administration had just taken office, I was not asked about my political beliefs nor do I believe they were in any way a consideration in my hiring,” Fleming wrote in an email.
Fleming added that many participants in congressional races are Georgetown alumni, which spurs employee donations to friends or acquaintances.
Geoffrey Bible (COL ’12), chairman of the Georgetown University College Republicans, was not surprised by the statistics.
“Universities are well known to be bastions of liberal policies and politicians. I am happy to see that there are a few members of the faculty and staff donating to Republican candidates, but I do not think this will have any effect on the upcoming election,” Bible said in an email.
Bryan Woll (COL ’12), president of the Georgetown University College Democrats, said he saw it as a positive sign.
“I think that the fact that our distinguished faculty chooses to support Democrats speaks volumes about our party and its candidates,” Woll said in an email.
Georgetown employees have not donated nearly as extensively as those at peer universities, however. The University of California system’s employees have donated $483,981 over the past two years and Harvard’s contributions totaled $424,478.
At every educational institution in the top 10 of donating employees, a majority of the funds donated were given to Democratic candidates or committees, according to OpenSecrets.
Public universities tended to give more proportionally to Democrats, with the University of California donating 86 percent of funds to Democrats, and the University of Texas giving 83 percent. Among private universities, Harvard donated 77 percent to Democrats, Stanford 75 percent and Columbia 72 percent.
Among the top educational organizations that gave a majority of their donations to Republicans, four of them come from traditionally southern states, such as Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia.
Notable recipients of funds from Georgetown employees include Tom Perriello, one-time Democratic incumbent from the conservative 5th District of Virginia; Moveon.org, the noted liberal nonprofit organization; Russ Feingold, embattled incumbent senator from Wisconsin; Al Franken, first-time senator from Minnesota who engaged in a long-term legal battle to win his election last year; and Sander Levin, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.”