Updated Oct 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Republican megadonor Harlan Crow gave max campaign donation to Cornel West

Cornel West speaks at the 2019 Hutchins Center Honors W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony at Harvard University on October 22, 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Cornel West speaks at the 2019 Hutchins Center Honors W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony at Harvard University on Oct. 22, 2019. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West has received a maximum campaign contribution from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow.

Driving the news: West received $3,300 from the GOP megadonor in August, according to his public filing with the Federal Election Commission, before he announced he was running as an independent in 2024.

  • West in June joined the crowded 2024 presidential field — where President Biden leads for Democrats and former President Trump for Republicans — as a member of the People's Party.

The big picture: Crow in April described West, a prominent progressive scholar and activist, as "a good friend," according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • The billionaire has gained attention in recent months after a ProPublica report alleged that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas repeatedly accepted luxury trips and lavish gifts from him. The situation sparked further evaluation of ethics for members of the nation'a high court.
  • Crow also donated to the 2024 presidential campaign of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
  • He's also given to the campaigns of former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the centrist group No Labels.

What he's saying: West addressed the donation in a post Thursday on X.

  • West said he has known Crow in a "non-political setting for some years" despite his "deep political differences" with the GOP donor.
  • He wrote: "I find it hypocritical for those who highlight his $3300 donation to my campaign but can't say a mumbling word about the PAC-driven billion dollars to support the genocidal attack in Gaza sponsored by their candidate! I'm fighting for Truth, Justice, and Love! Onward!"

Zoom in: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also recently switched to run as an independent, fueling concerns among Democrats that a third-party ticket could take votes from Biden's campaign in a razor-thin election.

  • West has defended his choice to run as an independent, saying the two-party political system is an "impediment for the flower of American democracy" during an interview with NBC News.

Go deeper: Big GOP donors push for Trump alternative

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect West was referring to "deep political differences" with Crow, not Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Go deeper