ESA Campaign Contributions Off to a Slow Start

May 27, 2008 -

When ESA head Mike Gallagher announced in January that the organization would begin making political campaign contributions, he projected that $50,000 - $100,000 would be donated to various candidates by year's end.

However, figures obtained by GamePolitics show that the ESA's campaign contribution initiative is off to a slow start. Through April 15th, a total of just $4,300 had been donated to three Congressional campaigns:

  • Rep. Jim Clyburn D-SC, $1,000
  • Rep. Artur Davis D-AL, $1,000
  • Rep. Mary Bono Mack R-CA, $2,300

Wooing Clyburn is a no-brainer for the ESA. The influential Democrat serves as House Majority Whip. Bono Mack, a moderate Republican, has been a strong supporter of copyright protections in the past, which makes her a natural ally of video game publishers. It's less clear why the Davis campaign was chosen to receive ESA money.

First quarter fund-raising for the ESA's political action committee wasn't all that impressive, either, especially given that donations to the PAC form the financial basis for campaign contributions. As of April 15th, a mere six donors contributed a total of $27,500. These included Gallagher himself as well as Microsoft's Robbie Bach, who chaired the ESA board of directors at the time the political action committee was formed.

Here's who donated to the ESA PAC:

  • Robbie Bach (Microsoft),  $2,500
  • Mike Gallagher (ESA), $5,000
  • Laurent Detoc (Ubisoft), $5,000
  • Ben Feder (Take-Two), $5,000
  • Graham Hopper (Disney), $5,000
  • Hiroshi Tobisawa (Capcom USA), $5,000

Interestingly enough, none of the 2008 presidential candidates received ESA PAC money in the first quarter. Details on contributions made after April 15th are not yet available.

34 comments

With Election Looming, ESA Plans to Spread Some Cash

January 15, 2008 -

Few things capture a politician's attention like campaign donations.

That's why, as the New York Times reports, the Entertainment Software Association will soon begin spreading money around to candidates for federal office. The video game publishers' organization has created a political action committee (PAC) to facilitate its campaign donations.

Regarding the move, ESA boss Michael Gallagher told the Times' Seth Schiesel:
 

We will be writing checks to campaigns by the end of this quarter. This is an important step in the political maturation process of the industry that we are ready to take now. This is about identifying and supporting champions for the game industry on Capitol Hill so that they support us.


Gallagher said the ESA's PAC would most likely donate $50,000 to $100,000 in 2008. Federal election law prevents giving more than $5,000 to any single candidate. In flexing the ESA's political muscle, Gallagher also touted the Video Game Voters' Network:
 

If I can walk into the office of a member of Congress and tell them we have 20,000 voters in their state who are already signed up to write letters and act based on game-related issues that concern them, that’s powerful.


GP: While the NYT's Schiesel writes of "a much more favorable and tolerant attitude toward video games both among the general public and politicians," we're not so sure we agree. Games seem under attack as much as ever.

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