Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Disney/ABC Board Members Gave McCain $8,900;

How Much to Obama?

[UPDATE: See the end of this post for new info.]

Later this week ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson will spend two days in Alaska interviewing Gov. Sarah Palin. It's quite a coup, scoring the first interview with her since she was plucked from relative obscurity to run as John McCain's veep choice, and out of concern for media transparency, I checked the FEC records for the board of directors of the Disney Company, the parent company of ABC.

What I discovered is that board members collectively gave $8,900 over the years to John McCain, either his presidential or senatorial campaigns, or his PAC.

On the other side of the political aisle, one Disney board member donated at least $4,600, and may have contributed as much as $30,000, to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. There are conflicting FEC files for this one board member, and I've emailed her corporation asking for clarification.

All that being said, I can't say if the board members who have donated to McCain applied pressure on the McCain campaign in order for ABC News to get the first interview with the woman who may become our next president, but I hope that by bringing some sunshine to the Disney board of directors' donations that there will be more eyes following the money from corporate media directors to political campaigns.

Let's go over the donations from the Disney leaders. Contributions to McCain are in italics.

Susan Arnold, of Proctor and Gamble, has only given money to the Proctor and Gamble PAC. No donations to Obama or McCain.

John E. Bryson, of the Edison International Corporation, has made donations to Democrats and Republicans, and Edison's PAC, but gave nothing to Obama or McCain.

John S. Chen, of Sybase Inc, gave McCain $2,300 in February.

Judith L. Estrin, of JLabs LLC, is the Disney board member with confusing FEC files. This record, from the Obama campaign, shows she contributed $28,500 in July. However, a search of her records at shows she gave $2,300 in June and another $2,300 in July. It's possible the $28,500 donation is a typo, and I hope to hear back from Estrin's company clearing up the conflicting FEC files on her.

Robert A. Iger, CEO of Disney, has donated $200,900 over the years, with $125,000 going to Democratic candidates and PACs, and gave McCain's senatorial reelection campaign $1,000 in April 1998.

Steve Jobs, of Apple Computers, another big donor, who's given $228,000 to Democrats and only $1,000 to a Republican, made no contributions to Obama or McCain.

Fred H. Langhammer, of the Estee Lauder Companies, donated $2,100 to McCain in February, and also gave the Straight Talk America PAC $2,500 in June 2006. He likes the GOP so much he contributed $10,000 in April the Republican Senatorial Committee.

Aylwin B. Lewis, of Potbelly Sandwich Works, has apparently made no donations that show up in FEC files.

Monica C. Lozano, of the La Opinon newspaper, made no donations to Obama or McCain, but has donated $4,000 to Democratic hopefuls for House and Senate seats.

Robert W. Matschullat, formerly of the Seagram Company, donated $1,000 to McCain in 2000, but no donations this cycle to him or Obama.

John E. Pepper, Jr., chairman of the Disney board of directors and former vice president of finance at Yale, has given nothing to Obama or McCain, but he donated $5,000 in November 2005 to the Republican National Committee.

Orin C. Smith, former president of Starbucks, is a big donor to Democrats, but has made no contributions to McCain or Obama.


I've heard back from Judith Estrin, confirming her whopping $28,500 donation to Obama. You can read my post about it, with a quote from Estrin, if you click here.

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