But it's hardly remarkable that most of Mueller's investigators appear to be Democratic donors. It would be shocking if they weren't.
If Mueller followed the law and hired lawyers without taking their political ideology into account, the odds are that he would hire mostly Democrats. The reason for this is simple: Lawyers tend to be liberal. Our research has shown that 68% of lawyers who have made any political contributions have given more money to Democrats than to
This liberal slant is even more extreme among elite lawyers. Of attorneys who graduated from the country's most selective law schools — the "Top 14," as they're often called — 76% of those who make political contributions have given more money to Democrats than to Republicans.
Any employers, therefore, who seek to hire the most qualified attorneys, would typically end up hiring many liberals. Mueller presumably falls into that category.
So does President Trump. The veteran Washington lawyer he hired to represent him in the Russia investigations, Ty Cobb, has donated thousands to Democrats over the past decade, including to Sen. Al Franken, President Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Consider the law clerks of the U.S. Supreme Court. Every year, the Supreme Court justices all hire four young lawyers to work as their clerks. Since 1960, 70% of the clerks who have made political donations have leaned to the left. And this is despite the fact that — unlike Mueller — Supreme Court justices can and do take ideology into account when hiring clerks. They simply end up hiring a lot of Democratic donors because the justices seek out the country's most exceptional young lawyers.
That members of Mueller's team may have given money to Democrats isn't proof that they are biased against President Trump, either. Many people donate to candidates for a variety of reasons and are still capable of conducting their work fairly.
Plenty of key members of the
It would be perfectly reasonable to make the case that the nation's elite lawyers should include more conservatives. Indeed, in a recent paper, we showed that the legal academy is even more liberal than the legal profession and argued that the ideological imbalance could be a problem.
But when it comes to whether Mueller's investigation is biased, this is beside the point. According to the Justice Department's own rules, campaign donations do not create a conflict of interest. Just as importantly, political contributions to Democrats are exactly what we would expect from a group of top-tier lawyers.
Adam Bonica is a professor of political science at Stanford University. Adam Chilton is a professor at University of Chicago Law School. Maya Sen is a professor of public policy at