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.