Several of the wealthy parents netted in the FBI’s “Operation Varsity Blues” are big money Democratic donors, including actress Felicity Huffman and her husband Willam H. Macy, who are accused of spending somewhere between $15,000 and $45,000 to “assist” their daughter in passing the SATs.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that, of the 33 parents who paid a collective $25 million to scam their children into Ivy League and other selective schools, several are well-known for mingling with the who’s who of Democratic elite.
Huffman, for her part, is a routine Democratic donor, giving thousands to candidates over the years, according to public records. She’s a big fan of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), but typically donates to ActBlue, a group that serves as a clearinghouse for Democratic candidates, allowing donors to bypass individual spending limits.
Thanks to two high-profile indictments on the case (Huffman and fellow actress Lori Loughlin, who may be on the hook for serious wire fraud charges), other parents facing trouble with the FBI have been able to fly below the radar. But that group also includes a fair number of political power players.
Gordon Caplan, the co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, a huge law firm on the East Coast, spent $125,000, the Free Beacon reports, to have his daughter’s SATs corrected before they were turned in to proctors. He “gave the maximum allowable donation to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He donated an additional $25,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and $22,300 to the Democratic National Committee in 2016, months before Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Caplan began giving to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in 2005.”
In 2012, he hedged his bets, though, giving thousands to Republican Candidate Mitt Romney as well as to Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
Real estate magnate Robert Flaxman paid $250,000 to have his kids’ test scores falsified, and to have a coach at the University of San Diego “recruit” his son. He was also an active Clinton donor, who spread his wealth among Democratic candidates nationwide.
A winemaker in California, who paid to have his daughter take a fake SAT, and then bribed administrators at USC, was also a Clinton donor who gave copiously to Kamala Harris’ and Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) campaigns.
Others gave generously to Obama’s campaign, and several supported Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Almost all of the affected politicians represent consitutuencies in either New York or Californa because that’s where most of the wealthy parents — who could afford paying upwards of $25,000 to cheat the college admissions system — reside. None of the accused are middle class.
The Free Beacon found only one consistant Republican donor among the 33 parents indicted Tuesday — Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo G. Giannulli, though he hasn’t given to a campaign since Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012. He and his wife may be facing the most trouble of all of the accused parents, having shelled out nearly half a million dollars to convince the University of Southern California to take their daughter, who reportedly didn’t even want to go to college in the first place.
The FBI says they are not done investigating the college admissions scandal at the core of “Operation Varsity Blues,” and that a number of other parents, coaches, and school administrators may be indicted in the coming days. Both Huffman and Loughlin have turned themselves in to authorities and are out on bail.