Major Democratic and Republican donors were indicted Tuesday in a college admissions scandal which led to the arrests of CEOs and famous actresses in a wide-ranging federal investigation. There is no evidence that those who were indicted Tuesday used their access to elected officials to help their children gain admission to top universities.
It’s not uncommon, however, for elected officials to write letters of recommendation to universities and colleges at the behest of constituents, but the question is whether campaign donors and bundlers (donors who raise money for campaigns on a voluntary basis) were able to obtain letters of recommendation from elected officials based on no qualifying factors other than campaign funds.
HuffPost has asked all of the candidates and committees who were beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the people indicted Tuesday whether they plan to donate or return the campaign contributions and whether the elected officials ever aided the donors with their children’s college admissions by writing a letter or contacting the secondary education institutions in any way to support or influence their admission decisions. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday afternoon that he would contribute $30,000 donated by vintner Agustin Huneeus to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said he would return $5,400 contributed by Crown Realty CEO Robert Flaxman. Other politicians and organizations had not responded by Tuesday evening.
The contributions were made to both Democratic and Republican candidates and committees. HuffPost did not include contributions made by unindicted spouses.
The contributions included:
At least $131,800 to committees benefiting or controlled by then-presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
At least $30,000 to committees benefiting Gavin Newsom
At least $25,000 to the Kamala Harris Senate Committee and the committee for her California attorney general candidacy