George Mason University becomes a favorite of Charles Koch, billionaire Republican donor
FAIRFAX, Va. — George Mason University, a public school outside the nation’s capital, has quietly become a conservative powerhouse in economics and law, a reputation built in part with tens of millions of dollars a year from billionaire Republican donor Charles Koch.
From 2011 to 2014, the Charles Koch Foundation gave nearly $48 million to George Mason in one form or another, tax records show. Though Koch divvies up more than $20 million annually among hundreds of U.S. universities through his foundation, no other school got more than $1 million annually in that period.
Although it is not unusual for billionaires — including those on the other end of the political spectrum — to donate large sums to schools, the size of the donations has raised concerns among some George Mason students and faculty about maintaining academic independence, echoing unease that has cropped up at other schools that benefit from Koch’s largesse.
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