We’ve Not Found a Single Wharton Employee Who’s Given Money to Donald Trump
Donald Trump often mentions his educational BFF, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He loooooves him some Wharton, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1968 — after having transferred from Fordham University (which gets no shoutouts.)
“I went to the Wharton School of Business,” Trump mentioned in a speech in Arizona last summer — and repeated often. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”
Two of his kids also attended Wharton as undergrads — Donald Jr. and Ivanka. (A third child, Tiffany, graduated from Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences in May.)
But does his BFF love him back? At all?
According to individual campaign donations, compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group based in Washington D.C., employees at Wharton donated exactly zero dollars to the Trump campaign. Zero.
In fact, not a single person who worked in the entire University of Pennsylvania system appears to have donated to the Trump campaign. The FEC requires candidates to collect employer and occupation data for contributors giving more than $200 in either a single donation or collectively. Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns require donors to provide occupation and employer data no matter how much they give (the minimum suggested donation for Clinton is $5, for Trump it’s $10, and for Bernie Sanders, it’s $15).
Douglas H. Weber, a senior researcher at CRP, confirmed the numbers, or, er, lack of numbers. No numbers at all for this election cycle so far, which runs from January 1, 2015, through the end of March (the latest data available.)
“Maybe they are supporting him in spirit?” Weber joked.
Trump has raised just under $60 million in contributions, compared to over $200 million for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Typically academia leans left when donating to candidates, Weber said. He said the University of Pennsylvania employees have given $76,991 toward Hillary Clinton.
We counted in $20,946 toward Bernie, but CRP did not confirm that number.
Wharton officials did not have any comment on the donations. The Trump media office did not return an email seeking comment.
But according to an August 2015 informal survey by CNBC of Wharton faculty, one third felt Trump’s frequent mentions of his alma mater were good for the school, one third felt he hurt the school and the rest thought Trump had no effect.
It’s not clear how much Trump has donated back to “the best school in the world.” He’s not listed on the school’s “Meet Our Donors” page. It thanks the Class of 1968 for funding the room on the occasion of their 35th reunion and Trump’s name is one of 27 alumni listed, the Associated Press reported in April. In September of 2015, Penn’s student newspaper the Daily Pennsylvanian reported that Trump gave what appear to be small donations to the school — in the 1980s. Trump’s name is missing from any of the major buildings, only to be found on a small plaque inside a seminar room in Van Pelt library, the AP reported. Wharton’s press office said it had no information on donations made by Trump to Wharton nor by Wharton employees to Trump. According to the AP, university officials told them donations were private.
One thing is for sure, Trump might be stingy with his dollars, but he’s big on the boasting, and there’s no sign of that stopping anytime soon.
“Hey, look, I went to the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world, I guess you could say, the Wharton School of Finance,” he said on CNN last August. “It’s like super genius stuff. I came out. I built a tremendous company. I had tremendous success. The Art of the Deal. The Apprentice. Everything.”
(Check out individual campaign donations here at OpenSecrets.org)
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the alma maters of Donald Trump’s children.