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Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat trying to win back his seat, taught at Stanford University for a time while he was out of the Senate. (Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin) Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat trying to win back his seat, taught at Stanford University for a time while he was out of the Senate. (Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat trying to win back his seat, taught at Stanford University for a time while he was out of the Senate. (Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

By Alison Dirr November 2, 2016

Ron Johnson: Opponent Russ Feingold "got paid $8,000 a lecture at Stanford University."

An Oct. 6, 2016 campaign ad from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson delves into former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s finances.

Feingold "got paid $8,000 a lecture at Stanford University," the ad claims.

We decided to check it out.

Johnson’s campaign sent us three links as backup:

-- Feingold’s 2015 personal financial disclosure form, in which he reports that he was paid $150,000 by Stanford in 2015.

-- The description of the cross-listed class he taught at Stanford in the spring of 2015, "Implications of Post-1994 Conflicts in Great Lakes Region of Africa: an American Perspective."

-- The description of the class he taught at Stanford in the fall of 2015, "The United States Senate as a Legal Institution."

Feingold was a visiting professor at the School of Law and a distinguished lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, according to Stanford University.

By our math, based on the course descriptions on Stanford’s website, there were 10 lectures in the first class and nine in the second, for a total of 19 lectures in those classes over the two terms.

If you take $150,000 and divide it by 19, you get approximately $7,895 per lecture. That’s pretty close to the $8,000 mentioned.

But that math ignores the work Feingold did outside of class.

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According to the campaign,  Feingold graded term papers, prepared for each lecture and held office hours for two hours a week for both classes. He also gave lectures for the campus and was a guest lecturer in other courses, according to the campaign.

Larry Kramer was the Law School’s dean at the time and said he recruited Feingold for the expertise Feingold could offer the university and its students.

Feingold was a U.S. senator from 1993 to 2011, after losing the 2010 election to Johnson. He soon became the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the State Department.

Kramer said Feingold’s duties included teaching but also many other responsibilities. (Kramer gave $2,000 last year to Feingold’s campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.)

He said that the university does not pay per lecture.

"Of course we don't pay that way," he said. "Nobody gets paid that way at the university. We don’t even think about it that way."

Stanford wouldn’t comment on its compensation programs, including whether pay is at all tied to the number of classes or lectures taught.

However, Brad Hayward, senior director of strategic communications at the university, confirmed that Feingold had responsibilities outside of the lectures.

"The responsibilities of teaching at Stanford do involve significant work outside of in-class time," Hayward wrote in an email. "In addition to those teaching responsibilities, Mr. Feingold guest-lectured in other classes, delivered a public lecture, and was available to students and colleagues as a member of our academic community."

Our rating

Johnson claims Feingold "got paid $8,000 a lecture at Stanford University."

While the math may be right, or close to it, the claim implies that the number of lectures is somehow tied to pay grade and ignores the other work required outside of class.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/ad0a1329-e0f2-4d66-a1df-a5b93e6ca2c4

Our Sources

Ron Johnson campaign ad, "Hands," accessed October 2016

Email, Russ Feingold campaign spokesman Michael Tyler, Oct. 20, 2016

Email, Ron Johnson campaign spokesman Ben Voelkel, Oct. 19, 2016

Email, Stanford University senior director of strategic communications Brad Hayward, Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, 2016

Interview, former Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer, Oct. 28, 2016

Russ Feingold 2015 personal financial disclosure form, accessed October 2016

Stanford University course list, "The United States Senate as a Legal Institution," accessed October 2016

Stanford University course list, "Implications of Post-1994 Conflicts in Great Lakes Region of Africa: an American Perspective," accessed October 2016

Federal Election Commission, Individual Contributions Arranged By Type, Giver, Then Recipient, accessed Oct. 28, 2016

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Johnson defeats Feingold in U.S. Senate race," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "FEINGOLD, Russell Dana, (1953 - )," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

Russ for Wisconsin, "About Russ," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

U.S. Department of State, "U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), Russell Feingold Travel to Rwanda, the D.R.C. and the United Kingdom," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

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More by Alison Dirr

Ron Johnson: Opponent Russ Feingold "got paid $8,000 a lecture at Stanford University."

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