Harvard Affiliates Donate to GOP

Though Massachusetts Republicans will not weigh in on the presidential nominating race until next Tuesday, a group of Harvard University employees have already let their checkbooks do some of the talking.

Documents made available online by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) last week show that a group of 17 donors on the Harvard payroll combined to give over $25,000 to Republican campaigns for president through the end of January.

The vast majority of that money, $23,150, was donated to the campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Libertarian Ron Paul drew $3,103 from just three Harvard employees. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to solicit any donations from Harvard employees.

It comes as little surprise that Romney is leading other Republicans in fundraising here, Harvard professors said.

In addition to having gained the support of most of his party’s leadership, Romney’s ties to the University are stronger than those of any of his contenders.

Romney earned degrees at both Harvard Business and Law School in the 1970s. As governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, he frequently had direct contact with Harvard and its professors.

Accordingly, most of the support Romney has found at Harvard has been at the business school or from professors who worked with him when he was governor.

HBS professor Michael E. Porter served as an official advisor to Romney’s campaign four years ago, leading his Global Competitiveness Policy Advisory Group. Though not an official Romney advisor this time around, Porter has thus far given the campaign $2,500.

Porter declined to comment on his involvement in the current campaign.

Clayton M. Christensen, a HBS professor and Mormon, is a close friend of Romney’s. He donated $2,500 to the campaign last year and has written and spoken on several occasions about how Mormon faith might affect a potential Romney presidency.

Harvard policy prohibits institutional endorsement of a candidate, but several high profile University leaders have backed Romney thus far, including HBS Director of Executive Education Ralph M. James and Director of Private Equity for the Harvard Management Company Peter F. Dolan.

Support for Ron Paul, though not widespread, has still been lucrative.

Amir M. Mikhak, an FAS web developer, has donated to the campaign, volunteered at phone banks, and is planning to run as a delegate to the national convention.

The FEC numbers only represent individual itemized contributions made by donors who reported working at Harvard.

Though Republicans are finding support here, Harvard has historically been a treasure trove for Democrats. President Barack Obama raised over $875,000 last time around making Harvard employees his third-largest donor. The President has already raised over $100,000 for his campaign this time around.

—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at nicholasfandos@college.

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