Why did Ted Lieu’s campaign donate $50,000 to Stanford before his son applied to Stanford?
Congressman Ted Lieu has a son enrolled at Stanford, according to his social media profile. Lieu’s congressional campaign from early 2016 to mid-2018 donated $50,146 to Stanford University — $50,000 of that in two donations over nine months through the beginning of 2018.
Now, it appears one of Lieu’s sons is enrolled at Stanford, entering as a freshman this month — or at least that’s what his son’s social media account says.
More than two years ago, Jennifer Van Laar at the blog Red State noted how odd it was for a congressional campaign to donate $50,000 to a university. Even if Lieu, an alumnus, feels compelled to give back to his alma mater, that doesn’t seem like an appropriate use of campaign funds.
As explained by the FEC, “Campaign committees can give gifts to charity. The amount donated to a charitable organization cannot be used for purposes that personally benefit the candidate.”
Now that we know Ted Lieu’s son was admitted to Stanford after these donations, the speculation bubbled up about some sort of influence, with references to “Varsity Blues,” the scandal in which Stanford officials apparently took bribes (all much larger than $50,000 to be sure) in exchange for admitting the children of the well connected.
When one Twitter account tweeted about this today, alleging impropriety, the account was suspended shortly after.
I’ve called Ted Lieu’s offices for comment but have not received a reply.