“When you talk about money it gets weird. It’s not something you ask (other slate members),” said Carlos Quintanilla, USAC facilities commissioner, who ran with Bruins United this year.
He said conversations about Hillel never came up when funding sources were discussed during the election, though he never asked explicitly about those sources.
Quintanilla said he thinks it would constitute a conflict of interest if councilmembers had received money from Milstein, especially because USAC was expected to discuss divestment and issues relevant to the donor during the school year.
Quintanilla, who voted “yes” on the Israel-related divestment resolution this academic year, said he thinks there is a difference between the corporate sponsorships Bruins United uses and receiving money from people with potentially political agendas.
“It changes things when you feel like you have to make political favors,” he said. “I don’t mind these businesses sponsoring us because they don’t care about UCLA politics.”
Fabienne Roth, general representative 3, said she was surprised to learn about Milstein’s connections to the slate over the summer, and added that she disapproves of the donation because she thinks it came with strings attached. Roth, who contributed $1,000 when she ran with Bruins United, left the slate earlier this quarter. She also voted “yes” on the divestment resolution this fall.
She said she thinks the hidden funding sources are a reason why there should be campaign spending limits and full disclosure of funding sources in USAC elections.
“Everyone runs on transparency platforms,” she said. “But when it comes down to it, no one’s really that transparent.”
Heather Rosen, USAC financial support commissioner, said she ran with the Bruins United slate in the spring, but was never told about any donations from Hillel.
Rosen said she thinks it is up to the judgment and morality of councilmembers and candidates to determine what is an appropriate funding source. She added that she thinks USAC leaders should disclose donations if they think there may be a conflict of interest.
“If someone hands you money and verbally says, ‘I want you to do this,’ then that’s not the most appropriate (donation to accept),” she said.
She added that she thinks it is partially the voters’ responsibility to elect candidates with integrity.
“It’s up to the election process to choose (the best candidates),” she said.
Bruins United party chair Heena Doshi, a fourth-year international development studies student, said she did not have any information about Hillel funding or pro-Israel donors. Former slate campaign manager and UCLA alumnus Joseph Hassine also did not provide information about the Hillel funding.