College leads in 2006 political donations

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December 8, 2006

8:56 PM

According to a recent study by the Center for Responsive Politics, the College ranks eighth in the nation among individual contributions from employees. During the 2006 election cycle, employees of the College and their families gave at least $172,800 to federal candidates and parties.

p. An overwhelming majority of the funds, $156,400 or 90.5 percent, went to Democrats. Only $400, or 0.2 percent of donations went to Republicans. The remaining donations went to independent or third-party candidates.

p. Government Professor Ron Rapaport and his family accounted for $167,400, or 96.9 percent, of the total donations given from College staff to Democrats. According to rankings from the CRP, Rapaport was ranked as the 28th largest individual campaign donor in the country for the 2006 campaign cycle.

p. Massie Ritsch, communications director for the CRP, said in an e-mail that Rapoport’s large donation was the only reason the College ranked so high.

p. “The Rapoport family — the professor, his wife and what appear to be two daughters … they’re big givers in the relatively small universe of political contributors,” Ritsch said.

p. Ritsch said that Rapoport’s wife and daughters are included because they did not list an employer.

p. Rapaport could not be reached for comment as of press time.

p. Of the 20 schools in the report, the College gave the least to Republican donors. The University of California Berkeley, which ranked first in total donations, gave 87 percent to Democrats and 12 percent to Republicans. Other schools on the list gave between three and 50 percent to Republican candidates.

p. Government Professor John McGlennon said it is not unusual for colleges to give more money to Democratic candidates because college professors are typically more liberal than the general public.

p. The College also made the list in 2002, ranking 13th over all with all the donations were given to Democratic candidates.
McGlennon pointed out that universities with more conservative leanings still give more to Democrats than Republicans. He pointed to Stanford University, which gave 61 percent to Democrats.

p. He also suggested that the donations could have been to alumni who were seeking political offices.

p. McGlennon said that the low number of contributions given to Republican candidates correlates to how Democratic and Republican candidates campaign for donors.

p. “It could just be that there were not Republicans who actively sought funds from faculty and staff,” he said. “If they didn’t aggressively campaign on campus, no one would give money to them.”

p. He added that part of the reason may be that the college is a state institution, directly affected by state policy.

p. “That also can shape decisions about donating money,” he said.

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