DePaul trustees chair pledged tens of thousands in political donations to 2020 Republicans

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Photo courtesy of Citadel

Gerald Beeson, chair of the DePaul’s Board of Trustees and chief operating officer at Citadel.

The newly appointed chair of DePaul’s board of trustees — the group of donors that help make all the university’s major decisions — donated the highest amount of money permitted by law to key Republican groups and candidates in the weeks before and after the 2020 election, federal disclosure records show

Gerald Beeson, chief operating officer of the Chicago-based investment firm Citadel, donated $35,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee — a subsidiary of the Republican Party that works to elect Republicans to that body — less than two weeks after the 2020 election, the records show. He previously donated $5,400 in Jan. 2016 and $4,600 in March 2017 to the committee.

Prior to the Nov. 3 election, in August, Beeson made donations of $2,800 to a number of key Republican candidates, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) whose races eventually led to a Jan. 5 run-off. 

Both figures — $35,500 for national party committees and $2,800 per election for individual candidate committees — are the largest donation sizes allowed by law. 

After the November election, Beeson made a $41,100 donation to the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund, a NRSC-run joint fundraising committee for Loeffler and Perdue, and gave $2,800 more to Loeffler specifically. Both Loeffler and Perdue lost their reelection bids. 

Federal Elections Commission records show a second donation to the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund for $82,200, but a spokesperson for Beeson told The DePaulia that it is an error.

“Mr. Beeson has supported candidates on both sides of the aisle who he believes will drive better outcomes over time,” the spokesperson for Beeson said. 

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The last Democrat whose campaign Beeson fiscally supported was Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat known for his opposition to abortion, Obamacare and same-sex marriage; he received $2,800 from Beeson in March during his primary against progressive Marie Newman, who won the general election, too. Prior to that, his last donation to a Democrat was in 2009 to Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s campaign. 

The board of trustees is responsible for “shaping the strategies that best promote the fulfillment of the university’s mission and values,” according to a university Newsline post

Beeson was appointed as chair of the university’s Board of Trustees in mid-December after the former chair, Lori Holland, died in November, shortly after the university dismissed for winter break. 

The chair of the Board of Trustees, in consultation with the university’s president and other trustees, determines the agenda of all board meetings and serves as a liaison between the board and the president, according to university bylaws. 

“The Secretary’s office works with trustees and the president throughout the year to recruit mission-driven and student-centered alumni and others to the board who collectively bring a balance of proven executive-level leadership and expertise to achieve their responsibility for shaping the strategies that best promote the fulfillment of the university’s mission and values,” university spokesperson Carol Hughes told The DePaulia. 

The Office of the Secretary declined to comment. Hughes added that Beeson and his wife, Jennifer, have funded two named scholarship programs at DePaul through a seven-figure endowment, providing “well over 100” scholarship opportunities to students for more than a decade. 

“Mr. Beeson’s combination of business acumen, leadership, philanthropic giving, commitment to education, and connection to the city of Chicago exemplify the mission and values of DePaul,” Hughes said. 

Beeson graduated from DePaul in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance. The year before he graduated, Beeson joined Citadel as an intern, one of the company’s first employees, according to his bio. Citadel is run by Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, who made news this election season by dropping millions toward efforts against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s so-called “Fair Tax.”

Beeson declined to be interviewed by The DePaulia, but a source familiar with Beeson’s politics told The DePaulia that he believes in “free markets” and “fiscally conservative” policies. 

None of the Republican candidates Beeson donated to this year objected to the certification of electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Beeson did donate to Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), who supported those efforts, in 2018 when Bost was running for re-election. There is no evidence indicating Beeson donated directly to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. 

“[Beeson] strongly condemns the actions that took place at the Capitol last week,” his spokesperson told The DePaulia.