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Bridgepoint, San Diego’s fast-rising for-profit higher education company, is continuing to flex its newfound local political muscle.

Employees at the company and people in their households gave $12,500 to mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, the San Diego Daily Transcript reported last week. From the Transcript (subscription required):

Bridgepoint had, by far, the highest number of employees giving to the same candidate, and none of its employees gave to anyone but Fletcher, according to the disclosure forms. Included on the list of Bridgepoint givers are Chief Executive Officer Andrew Clark, eight vice presidents and five others who list their title as “executive.” The entire management team listed on Bridgepoint’s website each gave the maximum amount to Fletcher. …

While Bridgepoint employees interviewed for this story said their reasons for donating were personal, some owners of local businesses said they gave to help advance the candidate they believed had their business interests in mind. And political experts said donations from a large number of employees are rarely made without some hope of advancing their business’s interests.

As we detailed in March, Bridgepoint has a brief but controversial history. In just four years, it’s become a major local employer with soaring profits and enrollment. At the same time, it’s attracted numerous federal and state investigations for its recruitment practices and use of student loan dollars. Just this week, Bridgepoint revealed in a regulatory filing that North Carolina’s attorney general was investigating the company for possible violations of the state’s consumer protection law.

Increasingly, the company has become involved in local politics and Fletcher, an assemblyman, has been a favorite. He promoted the company as a “San Diego Success Story” in a May 2010 video on his state website.

Fletcher’s campaign told the Transcript in a statement that he views everyone who donates to his campaign as individuals.

“The individuals who are employed by Bridgepoint believe Nathan is the best candidate for mayor and support his plan to innovate and create good-paying jobs for San Diegans,” the statement said. “The only interest company leaders have in the mayor’s race is ensuring a strong, healthy future for the city where they are headquartered.”

The Transcript story also detailed donations from multiple employees at different companies to mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio, Bonnie Dumanis and Bob Filner.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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