Donations decrease in 2022, twice as much go to DNC over GOP

In the 2022 election cycle, Notre Dame employees donated nearly twice as much to Democratic candidates and committees as they did to those of Republicans: $58,000 to $29,000, respectively, per data from OpenSecrets—a nonpartisan political research group that focuses on tracking money in politics. 

These totals mark a sharp decline from the $610,000 in political donations by Notre Dame employees in 2020. And it significantly narrowed the partisan discrepancy: in 2020, Notre Dame faculty donated nearly $420,000 more to Democratic candidates and committees than to those of Republicans.  

In fact, the proportion of dollars flowing to Republicans in 2022—despite favoring Democrats by nearly a factor of two—was an all-time high. 

Though much more money was directed at Democratic and Democratic-affiliated campaigns and committees from university employees in 2022, the largest recipient overall was the GOP-aligned Women Speak Out PAC of the nonprofit organization, Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America, which received $40,000 from university employees in total. Democratic donations were more often directed toward national campaign committees and high-profile candidates across the country, while GOP dollars were oriented toward campaigns closer to home.

The Democratic National Committee, Sen. Rafael Warnock of Georgia, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee constituted the four highest Democrat-affiliated donation recipients. None of these four campaigns and committees conduct activities primarily in Indiana. Conversely, besides the pro-life Women Speak Out PAC, the two campaigns that received the most money from Republican donors employed by the university were Rep. Rudy Yakym—who serves as South Bend’s hometown representative, replacing the late Jackie Walorski—and Indiana’s own Sen. Mike Braun. 

The general trend of Notre Dame employees’ political donations over time is mirrored in other universities’ employee donation data as well. Taking as examples five universities in relatively close proximity to Notre Dame with diverse characteristics—the University of Chicago, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, DePaul University, and Northwestern University—all five of these schools had nearly identical trends, both in terms of total donations and the proportion of money being donated to Democrats and Republicans. All five cases, like Notre Dame, saw employee’s political giving increase steadily over the past two decades before outlying high points in 2020 and a fall below the trend line in 2022. The notable exceptions being a couple spikes in donations from University of Chicago and Northwestern employees in 2008 and 2012, perhaps due to the presence of hometown presidential candidate Barack Obama on the ballot.

The uniformity of these patterns indicates that, in general, university employees—including those at Notre Dame—have donated progressively more and more to political campaigns over the past twenty years. But also, they were less willing to donate to political campaigns in the 2022 election than in past years, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle. 

2020 stands uniquely above every other election year and in such stark contrast to this most recent election in 2022, especially when one isolates the data on donations to Democratic campaigns. One reason for this consistent pattern break in the trend line may be the contentious nature of the 2020 election, in which President Donald Trump sought reelection. Regardless, it is clear that the peak in donations two years ago, and the subsequent decline in this most recent election, was not in any way unique to Notre Dame.

Another fruit of comparison between the data on Notre Dame employee political donations and those of other nearby schools is an appreciation of the large difference in the respective proportion of dollars flowing to the two different major political parties. Though Democrats still received over twice the amount of money as the Republican Party from Notre Dame employees in 2022—and over six times more in 2020—the gap between donations at Notre Dame is significantly smaller than at the other five schools that have been provided as examples.

Luke Thompson is a junior from Flagstaff, Arizona majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies, political science, and theology. He is not a political candidate, so you may send him money without any notice from media outlets. Reach out with gifts or questions at

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