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Hundreds of MIT employees have given money to political campaigns this election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission’s campaign financing database, accessed on Oct. 30.
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MIT employees gave nearly $900,000 in political contributions this election cycle, a search of the Federal Election Commission’s public database reveals.

Barack Obama received $620,000 from MIT employees, through either direct donations or affiliated political action committees like Obama for America. John McCain received less than a tenth of that — $44,000. The rest of the money went to other candidates or to other PACs like Emily’s List and the Republican National Committee.

In the FEC database, an MIT employee was someone who listed MIT as his or her employer. Of the employees, MIT faculty members (or people who listed their occupation as “professor” or “faculty”) made about half of the contributions.

Of the 311 employees recorded to have given money to Obama’s campaign, 117 were faculty members. In total, MIT employees gave $257,000 directly to Obama’s campaign, of which faculty accounted for $129,000, or 50 percent. Eleven of the 19 McCain campaign donors employed by MIT were faculty members, and they accounted for $12,700 of the $16,200 donated by MIT employees to McCain’s campaign.

The presidential candidates each received much more money by means of donations to political action committees. There is a cap on direct campaign donations of $2,300 per election (with primary elections and general elections counted separately), but individuals may donate up to $5,000 to PACs. Many MIT employees took advantage of the higher donation ceiling.

Compared to 2004, more MIT employees gave to PACs in this election cycle. This election, many more MIT employees chose to give to candidate-specific PACs. In 2004, 308 employees gave to PACs; 97 gave to PACs linked to John Kerry, while 5 gave to PACs linked to George Bush. In 2008, 350 employees gave to PACs, of which 208 gave to Obama-related PACs and 14 gave to McCain-related PACs.

All in all, MIT employees gave $562,000 to PACs this election cycle, compared to $325,000 in 2004.