Issues

Feingold Hits Johnson on College Costs Despite Getting $450K From Universities

Lectures and honoraria add up for Wisconsin Democrat

Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold / AP

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Russ Feingold has for months attempted to make college affordability a central issue in his race against Sen. Ron Johnson (R.) despite pocketing nearly half a million dollars in salaries and honorariums from higher education institutions since losing his Senate seat in 2010.

Feingold’s campaign released an ad last week hitting Johnson on college affordability and student loans, claiming that Johnson wants to eliminate student loans and voted to increase interest rates.

However, Feingold profited from that very system, collecting more than $450,000 since he lost to Johnson in 2010.

Feingold taught at Marquette University for one semester in 2011. While it is unclear how much money he made during his time at Marquette, his 2015 financial disclosure report shows a Marquette University retirement plan worth between $15,001-$50,000 for his short stint at the university.

Feingold then became a "guest lecturer" at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, for the fall term of 2012. He was compensated $25,000 by the university.

Feingold traveled west after being tapped as a "distinguished visitor" at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service during the 2012 winter semester. He was paid $100,000 for this position.

During the 2013 winter and spring semesters, Feingold then pulled in $105,000 as a Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School while teaching one class in the winter and remaining in residence throughout the spring. Feingold was compensated $150,000 by Stanford University in 2015.

Feingold has pulled in tens of thousands from one-time honoraria in addition to the salaries he was paid by universities.

Between February 2012 and June 2013, Feingold made $70,000 in one-time honoraria from institutions such as the Directors’ College at Stanford, Gettysburg College, Marquette Law School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Arizona State University, and Kansas State University, among others.

A spokesman for Johnson’s campaign said Feingold has benefited from high college costs and misrepresented Johnson’s record.

"The fact is, Senator Feingold backed the big government programs that have driven up college costs, failed to fix this problem during his nearly two decades in Washington, and then lived off of high college costs," spokesman Brian Reisinger told the Washington Free Beacon in an email statement. "Ron is working to make college affordable and accessible for everyone, which is why he supported the Perkins loan program and voted twice for legislation to stabilize and lower interest rates."

Feingold’s campaign did not return a request for comment.