About half of trustees donate to campaigns

Democrats had a slight edge in donations from the Board.

Sixteen of Temple’s 36 trustees made some sort of contribution to campaigns for the 2014 midterm elections.

Overall, the trustees personally donated a total of $18,500 directly to candidates running in the 2014 elections, according to data corroborated from reports by the Federal Election Commission.

The trustees donated an additional $25,710 to various political action committees, most notably the PAC for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which supports net neutrality and affordable internet. Its top two recipients in 2014 were incumbents Sen. Ed Markey (D-AZ), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who are both up for re-election this Tuesday.

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, who sold his cable company Lenfest Communications to Comcast in 1999 for $6.71 billion, contributed $5,000 to the NCTA in 2014, repeating the same donation he made in 2013. Lenfest now serves as publisher of The Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com after winning the publications in an auction with former business partner, the late trustee Lewis Katz.

Bret Perkins, who serves as vice president for external and government affairs at Comcast, donated $3,500 in 2014 and 2013.

Another PAC trustees had in common was the National Italian American PAC, which did not donate to candidates in 2014. $49,000 of the about $80,000 the PAC spent in 2014 went to the Sheraton Hotel in Society Hill. Other top recipients from that PAC include a company which organizes fundraising events, Camiel Group LLC, and a catering company.

Ronald Donatucci, who serves as register of wills for the City of Philadelphia, contributed $1,175 to NIA-PAC. Jane Scaccetti, who serves as a tax consultant at her co-owned firm, contributed $370.

Mike Fitzpatrick, the Republican congressman running for re-election in Pennsylvania’s 8th district, which is Bucks County, has received $5,100 from trustees in the past two years. More than half of that comes from Christopher McNichol, who serves as co-vice-chair of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee and also chairs the Investments Committee.

The Temple News was unable to find contributions registered to the Board’s chairman, Patrick O’Connor. But his lawfirm, Cozen O’Connor, contributed $10,000 or more to 16 candidates for the House and the Senate, including $34,287 to Booker’s re-election campaign. The firm spent $406,369 total on campaign contributions, with 68 percent going to Democrats.  $90,000 was spent on lobbying.

According to opensecrets.org, Cozen O’Connor is ranked 547th out of more than 16,000 organizations in amount of funds spent on political causes.

Joe Brandt can be reached at  jbrandt@temple.edu and on twitter @JBrandt_TU

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