Home>Congress>Princeton University employees contributed $654k to four N.J. Democrats at risk in congressional redistricting

Gov. Phil Murphy, left, with Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. (Photo: Denise Applewhite/Princeton University).

Princeton University employees contributed $654k to four N.J. Democrats at risk in congressional redistricting

List of potential conflicts continue to grow for staff of independent redistricting tiebreakers

By David Wildstein, January 23 2022 2:47 pm

Princeton University employees have contributed $654,627 to Democratic incumbents in four competitive New Jersey House districts, but that didn’t stop the independent tiebreaker for the Congressional Redistricting Commission from bringing in the Princeton Gerrymandering Project as his staff.

Donors who list Princeton as their employer have made 536 separate donations to Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and  Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), according to a New Jersey Globe review of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Just one contribution in those districts went to a Republican: Stanley Katz, a retired professor who now serves as a lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, sent a $100 check to Rep. Leonard Lance for his 2018 campaign against Malinowski.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), who represents Princeton in the U.S. House of Representatives, has raises $105,552 from employees of the university since her first campaign in 2014.  None of the other five Democratic congressmen from New Jersey have received any contributions from Princeton employees.

Princeton University declined a New Jersey Globe request this week to fully disclose donors to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a group run by neuroscience professor Sam Wang.

Wang and two of his staffers, Hannah Wheelen and Helen Brewer, worked directly with the court-selected congressional redistricting tiebreaker, former Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr.   The court-appointed tiebreaker for legislative redistricting, former Appellate Court Judge Philip R. Carchman, has also brought in the Princeton group as his advisors.

The congressional delegation is important enough to Princeton University that they have four full-time employees at government relations office in Washington, D.C., including a onetime aide to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.

According to The Atlantic, Princeton University has pushed for tax breaks on their endowments,  and received “ten times as much (federal) tax money per student as public colleges.”

The New Jersey Globe has previously reported that the only three donors publicly attached to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project are major contributors to Democratic candidates and party organizations. That includes the heads of the Simons Foundation, James and Marilyn Simons, who have contributed more than $180 million to Democratic causes, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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