Last winter, when Brandeis Trustee Meyer Koplow was nominated to serve as our next President, one of the major objections I heard to his candidacy was his ties to the Republican Party. As Nathan Robinson wrote in the Hoot, Koplow’s record of political contributions includes several darlings of the right-wing, including the ultraconservative Jim DeMint and my noxious home-state Senator Joe Lieberman. I don’t know if these connections on their own should have disqualified Koplow from the Presidency (although it would have made it difficult for him to lead a student body that, according to Wikipedia, was ranked ninth-most liberal in the country by U.S. News and World Report); however, recalling that minor controversy made me curious as to what Frederick Lawrence’s contribution record looked like.
Searches for “Lawrence, Frederick” and “Lawrence, Fred” on OpenSecrets.org revealed three contributions from an individual by that name employed at Boston University during the period in which President-designate Lawrence worked there (1988-2005). I think it’s safe to say that they’re all from the guy we’re looking for, particularly since one of them specifies the donor as a “Professor of Law”. They are:
- $250 on 7/27/92 to Bill Clinton (D)
- $2,000 on 9/20/00 to DNC Services Corp (D)
- $500 on 10/27/04 to DNC Services Corp (D)
It looks like Lawrence isn’t a major political donor, but he’s batting 1.000 for Team Blue so far. It’s hard to read anything into his current six year period of inactivity; not only has he done that before, but I can think of plenty of reasons why the head of a law school in Washington, D.C. might want to remain publicly neutral on questions of politics.
I have to admit that I find it comforting to know that Lawrence’s sympathies appear to lean Democratic. It supports my hope that he’ll pursue strong progressive policies for the University, and it could signify that the run of Democratic luminaries that Brandeis has brought to speak while I’ve been here (Bill Clinton, Carl Levin, Howard Dean etc.) will continue with institutional support.