(NewsNation) — I’ve said repeatedly I get so many of my ideas about what to do on this show based on your feedback. Same goes for my SiriusXM radio show, where I get a nice mix of Republicans and Democrats listening.
During Tuesday’s radio show, I got several interesting calls alerting me to reports that political campaign contributions from employees at the Department of Justice overwhelmingly favored Democrats. It was interesting, so I wanted to dig in.
Now it turns out the information my listeners were citing directly or indirectly came from a 2018 report by the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon titled “DOJ employee donations overwhelmingly favor Democrats” — definitely an eye-catching headline.
The report has resurfaced recently. But is it true? I spent a lot of time over the past 24 hours trying to separate the fact from the fiction on this.
First and foremost, the total numbers of donations are tiny. For example, employees of the FBI donated about half as often as ordinary citizens. So it’s dangerous to draw any conclusions from the handful of people who donated, but the research took me to a prominent legal site called Lawfare, which published a post in 2020 titled “Is the deep state donating to the Democrats?”
And the conclusion, in short, was not really. The first statistic does seem to support it.
In 2018, 81% of FBI officials who made campaign contributions gave to Democratic committees, but only 57 officials total made a political donation that year, 57 in the entire FBI of 35,000 plus. And yes, 46 of them donated to Democrats. The total of their contributions was about equal to what their Republican counterparts gave. Each side’s donations totaled about $7,000.
2019 was similar. There were 141 donors total from the FBI, and the partisan gap was a little more narrow: 65% gave to Democrats, 35% to Republicans. But Republicans in the bureau gave just over $1,000 more in total than Democrats.
The data is a little more murky on the CIA, where we don’t have an official count on how many people are on their payroll because it’s all hush hush. But whatever the number is, only a tiny fraction of them are active political contributors.
A total of 19 CIA officials donated in 2018. That number went up to 44 in 2019, with the contributions to both sides splitting slightly in favor of Democrats, who netted just over $7,000 from CIA employees, while Republicans raked in just under $6,000.
I focused on the FBI and the CIA, because there’s been this effort to discredit them with the idea of a deep state conspiracy against former President Donald Trump and Republicans as a whole, and the campaign donations will prove it.
But let’s focus on the broader DOJ. Open Secrets, a nonprofit, nonpartisan website, which tracks political donations has compiled the data for this year to date. It shows that DOJ employees have donated roughly $228,000 to Democrats so far in 2022 with just over $74,000 to Republicans. That is an interesting statistic.
But when we focus specifically on the FBI so far this year, 51.2% of the FBI contributions have gone to Republicans, while 48% have gone to Democrats.
Look, bottom line is that I don’t think these numbers prove anything about broader bias. Taken out of context, they can be an effective tool in trying to undermine the FBI.
Look, we will continue to discuss specific issues and allegations and evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. But the idea that FBI employees’ bias is proven by its funding just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.