MPAA Shifts Its Funding Efforts To Republicans After SOPA Defeat

from the but-of-course dept

You may recall that, as SOPA/PIPA were in their final death throes, MPAA boss Chris Dodd made a significant political faux pas in flat out warning politicians that if they refused to stay bought, the MPAA might not keep funding them:
"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,"
Historically, of course, it has always been the Democrats that Hollywood has backed the most. While there are some high profile exceptions, Hollywood is a Democratic town. And, of course, with the Democrats failing to give Hollywood its desired censorship tool, the MPAA has apparently shifted strategies and has ramped up its funding of Republicans (possible paywall, depending on where you visit from):
Last year, the MPAA replaced its longtime lead lobbying firm, considered to be close with Democrats, with a lobbyist with ties to key GOP lawmakers. Its political-action committee now gives more donations to Republicans than Democrats. And it has sent money to a GOP super PAC, a conservative antitax entity and a business lobby helping Republicans in the 2014 elections.
Of course, this isn't so much the end result of Dodd's promise, rather it appears to be the MPAA recognizing that the party that bailed first (and most loudly) on SOPA and PIPA... were the Republicans, who have begun showing sparks that suggest that they may break from the bipartisan support for copyright maximalism.

While it's easy to be cynical about the MPAA here, it's more likely that this is all by design by Congress itself. For all the belief that lobbyists drive the agenda in Congress via money, when you dig down, you realize it's often the opposite, with the politicians themselves effectively extorting money from lobbyists by threatening to push certain laws.

In fact, right before SOPA blew up, a cynical, but knowledgeable (and all too prescient) friend of mine pointed out that the whole point of SOPA/PIPA was to pit two "rich" industries -- tech and Hollywood -- against each other to make donations rain from the sky. As this friend pointed out, for years, Congress would pit two other "rich" industries -- radio broadcasters and the recording industry -- against each other by pushing a performance rights bill, and both sides would donate heavily to various candidates in support of or against it. However, by 2010, it was quickly becoming clear that neither the radio industry, nor the recording industry were going to continue being huge successful industries with lots of money to throw around lobbying. So, folks on the Judiciary Committee looked around and sought a bill that would get the tech industry and Hollywood all riled up to start donating. It didn't much matter if the bills passed or not -- just that people got angry.

And that's more or less what happened.

And, now the MPAA is raining dollars on candidates it hasn't in the past:
In 2010, MPAA had a budget of about $50 million, down from $70 million in 2008, according to tax forms. In 2012, the last year for which tax forms are available, MPAA's budget was back to nearly $70 million....

The fastest-growing part of the MPAA budget is donations to interest groups and political organizations. It made $2.5 million in grants to third-party groups in 2012, up from just $120,000 in 2009. Many were routed to nonpolitical organizations that share Hollywood's interest in copyright protections or lower taxes. About $600,000 went to organizations that play a more political role.

MPAA gave $75,000 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is a top supporter of Republican candidates for Congress; $100,000 to Americans for Tax Reform, the antitax group run by conservative advocate Grover Norquist ; $25,000 to the large pro-Republican super PAC American Action Network; and $20,000 to Let Freedom Ring, whose mission is to "counter the attacks of anti-conservative groups," according to its website.
Cynical or not, if the plan all along with SOPA/PIPA was basically a fundraising plan for Congress, well, mission accomplished.

Filed Under: chris dodd, pipa, republican party, sopa
Companies: mpaa


Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 28 Feb 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    Maybe because ultimately, to most people, it's just movies.

    And this is how politics has worked since the beginning. It's always been an exchange of favors. It's nothing new.

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