Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Political Money Trail at NYU

So what are the political affiliations of NYU administrators and trustees? Nerds have conducted some research, and here are the results. All data comes from The Center for Responsive Politics, and unless otherwise noted, concerns contributions made since 2002.

John Sexton, you may be interested to know, is not a big donor. He has not donated any money since 2000 (though his wife, Lisa Goldberg, always a bigger donor than him, contributed $2,000 to John Edwards's election campaign). Between 1990 and 2000, Sexton donated $3,250 to the Clintons and $2,000 to the DNC.

Other administration officials, despite their hefty salaries, similarly seem to avoid spreading the money around to politicians and PACs--Stimpson, for instance, has donated only $300 to the DNC since 2002.

The Trustees are much more interesting (not having the time, we did not research all trustees, only the Board of Directors and a few other interesting names).

The award for the highest total dollar amount goes to Larry Silverstein, who donated over $150,000 to both democrats and republicans, including about $30,000 to the RNC or its more local components.

Preston Tisch wins the soft money contest, with $75,000 in donations to the RNC and its subsidiaries.

Other large republican contributors include Kenneth Langone, who gave close to $100,000 to republican candidates and PACs; Anthony Welters, who gave over $60,000, mostly to republican candidates and PACs; and Richard Grasso, who gave money to McCain, various democratcs, and $10,000 to Guiliani's PAC.

Leonard Wilf wins the good democrat award, with $15,000 in contributions to the New Jersey State Democrats (though he did show his stripes as a real estate developer by giving George W. Bush $2,000). Others with large democratic contributions include William R. Berkely, who gave $76,000 to members of both parties and assorted PACs (though primarily democrats).

The most-random award goes to Martin Lipton, whose contributions included: $2,000 to Bush in 2004; $5,000 to Lamar Alexander (R-TN); $3,500 to democratic candidates from CT, CO, and IL; and $1,000 to Robert Torricelli, disgraced democrat from NJ.



What does this all mean? Well, the bigwigs on the Board of Trustees like to spread the dough around to make sure they get the best deal possible from whoever wins. And we should remember these numbers would be smaller if we focused only on more recent years, as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill restricted soft money contributions (those to PACs). As for the administration, despite high salaries (Sexton, for instance, made $897,139 in total compensation in 2003-04), they like to keep the money for themselves--though Sexton's personal ties to the Clintons seem to have overcome this reticence.

2 Comments:

Blogger zach said...

is a $5,000 donation even legal? Or is the 2k limit just for presidential elections? Or is it all soft money stuff like with Tisch or Larry S.?

When we were leafletting a William Rudin event at the Cornell Club today, the building next to us had this big shiny plaque on it that said "Silverstein Properties."

2/02/2006 2:41 AM  
Blogger Bread and Roses said...

Silverstein owns everything...

The donation limits for soft money were not in effect at the beginning of the period I was looking at. Also, this is over 3 campaign periods, so the 2k limit each time adds up to $6,000 maximum.

2/02/2006 8:34 PM  

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