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California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter — a former law professor who earned more than $285,000 a year while at the University of California, Irvine — earned thousands of dollars in royalties from law school textbooks she received from her own students had to buy the courses she taught.
In 2017, Porter, who is now seeking re-election to the House of Representatives in November, was paid $286,674 to teach two courses per semester at the institution, according to Transparent California.
Since arriving in Washington, Porter has worked to make education more affordable for Americans, stating in 2020 that the American political system has “for far too long favored the rich and well-connected” because “powerful people live in a reality during which… Rest of us live in another.”
For some of the courses she taught, Porter required her students to purchase textbooks she authored, from which she received royalties, according to documents obtained through a FOIA request to UC Irvine.
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During the 2017 academic year, Porter taught a total of four courses, school records show. In the Fall 2017 semester, Porter taught LAW 523, a bankruptcy law course, and LAW 5225, a consumer law course. During the Spring 2017 semester, Porter taught LAW 299, a directed research course, and LAW 5901, Transition to Practice.
The seventh edition of “The Law of Debtors and Creditors: Text, Cases, and Problems, a book co-authored by Porter and several others including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was required material for Porter’s Bankruptcy LAW 523- class, according to a syllabus for the course.
Another of her works, Modern Consumer Law, a book authored by Porter and published in 2016, was required reading according to a course syllabus for Porter’s Consumer Law 5225 class in the fall of 2017. Additionally, the same book by Porter was from 2016 Required reading for an online course she taught in the summer of 2017. However, according to the curriculum, she did not require students to buy the book that semester.
Porter also taught LAW 523 in the 2015 and 2016 Spring semesters and required her then students to earn the Seventh Supplement of “The Law of Debtors and Creditors” according to her course’s syllabus.
At other points during her tenure at the university, Porter, who has repeatedly advocated lower costs of education, urged her students to use their own books for courses she taught.
In 2015, Porter taught Law 5225 and asked students to use “draft pages from my forthcoming book Consumer Law” according to the syllabus. At the time, she did not charge her students for the materials required for the course.
Katie Porter earned thousands in royalties between 2016 and 2017 from her academic books from Wolters Kluwer, a publisher with several legal works that was later acquired by Aspen Publishing.
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Porter reported in her 2018 financial disclosure that she earned $7,795 in “publication fees.” She also reported receiving royalties ranging from $1 to $200 from Stanford University Press for an academic book she authored.
In a 2017 financial disclosure, Porter reported that she earned between $2,501 and $5,000 in royalties from her law books. In the same disclosure, Porter also reported that she earned between $201 and $1,000 in royalties from Stanford University Press for a book she authored. Specific amounts for royalties earned by Porter in 2016 were not disclosed in the 2017 filing.
A 2020 financial disclosure filed by Porter in 2021 revealed that she had earned up to $5,000 in “royalties from Wolters Kluwer for two academic law textbooks.”
The cost of the required textbooks that Porter co-authored and used in her courses has varied over the years. “Debtor and creditor law” cost $267 in 2019 but rose to $298 as of 2022, an increase of nearly 12%. The cost of Porter’s book, Modern Consumer Law, has increased from $216 in 2019 to $275 in 2022, an estimated 23% increase.
Earlier this month, a report from the Associated Press highlighted Porter’s Orange Beach, Calif. home, which the outlet says is in an area where homes are estimated to cost $1 million.
The progressive Democrat and law professor, who laments the cost of housing in her district, bought it in 2011 for $523,000, a below-market price secured by a program the university uses to attract academics who otherwise couldn’t afford to go there to reside affluent area. The only admission requirement was that she continue to work for the school.
For Porter, that version of subsidized housing has outlasted her time in the classroom and is now lasting almost four years, after she took her first unpaid leave from her $258,000-year job as a teacher to serve in the US House of Representatives.
But the connections run deeper, with at least one law school administrator who was also a donor to her campaign and helped extend her term while she remained in Congress, according to university emails obtained by the AP. That’s allowed Porter, a rising Democratic star and fundraising powerhouse whose own net worth is estimated at up to $2 million, to keep her home even as her return to school remains in doubt.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Porter declined to say whether her housing situation was adequate. But she said she “followed applicable (University of California) guidelines as well as all applicable state and federal laws.”
“I’m always happy to be transparent with voters,” Porter said. “I am very proud of my record of transparency and good governance and have been asked about this before by constituents and have always been happy to give them full and complete information.”
Porter has consistently championed the notion that the cost of college education is too high, writing in a 2018 tweet that “college costs are too high and threaten the future of those looking for better opportunities.” “.
Porter has also worked to “make college more affordable so that every hard-working student can graduate debt-free from California’s major public colleges and universities.”
Porter is under scrutiny over her housing agreement with UC Irvine. Porter bought her home in an affluent neighborhood near the school in 2011 for $523,000 — securing a below-market price through a university program offered to the school’s staff. Porter remains in the house but is on an indefinite unpaid leave from her teaching duties to carry out her duties in the US House of Representatives.
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Porter will face Republican Scott Baugh in the November 8 general election in California as she seeks to represent the Golden State’s 47th congressional district in the House of Representatives.
Fox News received no response from Porter’s campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.