GW Dems use student gov funds for Planned Parenthood fundraiser

The George Washington University’s student government helped to fund a College Democrats event billed as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.

The GW College Democrats recently hosted its annual  “#PinkOut Gala” in an on-campus venue that requires a rental fee, but all proceeds from ticket sales were donated to Planned Parenthood, and attendees were encouraged to "bring cash or card to donate additional funds," as well.

According to the 2018 GW Student Association Budget Book, the College Democrats requested and received $625 to offset the cost of the room rental. The budget request was listed as “winter gala,” but did not mention that the gala would be a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.

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The GW SA financial bylaws do not explicitly forbid student groups from using student government funds for external fundraisers, but do state that funding from the SA cannot be used “as a direct monetary or in-kind contribution to a candidate seeking elected office in an off-campus election.”

Campus Reform reached out to the GW SA Finance Committee requesting clarification on the bylaw, specifically whether the College Democrats gala may have constituted a violation, given that Planned Parenthood’s political donations consistently go almost exclusively to Democratic candidates.

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“The SA Finance Committee does not comment on legitimate allocations made to on-campus organizations,” SA Finance Committee Chairman Devan Cole said in an email. “However, the committee is well aware of the spending prohibitions outlined in our bylaws, and such familiarity would prevent them from ever making a mistake like the one you seem to be suggesting.”

A source who asked not to be identified told Campus Reform that the event raised approximately $4,000 for Planned Parenthood.

Follow this author on Twitter @kara_kirsten