News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner said in a statement, “News Corporation has always believed in the power of free markets and organizations like the RGA, which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy.”
Update: Media Matters for America has pounced on the donation. Matt Gertz writes, “They’re not trying to hide it anymore. As the coverage of its media outlets indicates, News Corp. supports the Republican Party’s platform. It’s just now started putting its money where its mouth has long been.”
The Democratic Governors Assn. also has weighed in. Its executive director, Nathan Daschle, said in a statement: “By contributing $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, Fox has crossed a bright line. Fox can no longer pretend that it is a ‘fair and balanced’ news organization when Rupert Murdoch greenlights a million dollar contribution to defeat Democratic governors.” He’s calling on Fox News execs to ask that the corporation return the contribution, saying that it will “severly compromise” Fox News’ reporting.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, News Corp. is not the biggest corporate donor to the RGA this cycle. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has contributed more than $2.5 million. Records show that the News Corp. contribution was made on June 24.
Other media congloms have given substantial to the governors orgs this cycle, although certainly not as generous. The Democratic Governors Assn. has collected $60,250 from Time Warner; $240,100 from General Electric; and $200,295 from Comcast.
The Republican Governors Assn. also has received $50,900 from Time Warner Cable; $206,350 from General Electric; and $176,350 from Comcast.
It’s important to note that the corporate giving was not trigger by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision earlier this year which struck down key parts of campaign finance reform. Although the ruling will let companies contribute unlimited amounts to influence election races, the two gubernatorial committees are set up as “527” organizations that already have been allowed to accept unregulated sums from corporate America.
News Corp. is limited in the amount it can give to individual candidates through its political action committee. In that regard, it has spread the wealth almost evenly between both parties, albeit in much smaller amounts. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the PAC gave $48,000 to Democrats in House races and $40,700 to Republicans. And the PAC gave $30,500 to Democrats in Senate races and $25,500 to Republicans.