ESA Campaign Contributions Off to a Slow Start

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.

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  1. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. the1jeffy says:

    Touche.  However, E3 wasn’t a revenue source for the ESA.  As a non-profit, their revenue comes from member fees and donations.  In fact, the reason it was downscaled was the ESA big members were tired of ballooning marketing expenses for the show, with little or no clear gain from the expenditure.  And little companies couldn’t dream of ‘competing,’ for press, or more aptly – floor space.

    And furthermore, this has little to do with the decision to move locations – to me, it has more to with signing a foolish contract with the LA Convention Center (if my memory serves), and then moving.  Which, if the legions of gamer-kiddie fluff-press (who are responsible for the CON-ning of E3) would recognize, I wouldn’t be so derisive.  Wasn’t the long-term deal signed under Lowenstein’s tennure?  This Gallagher guy inherited a worm-holed antique.

    Let’s spell it out further – the only ‘good’ the ESA has done for it’s members was mount legal defenses for blatantly unconstitutional laws.  Commendable, to be sure.  GP has reported on several high-ranking members of the ESA deciding not to renew, and this article shows why – the ESA isn’t spending it’s time (or cash) lobbying to prevent costly lawsuits.  In other words – the ESA is not doing it’s job.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  3. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    @Everyone Using The Old "@[Username]" Thing (Minus myself since this is as an example)

    May I point out to you the "reply" button under every post?


  4. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    "I don’t give a **** about E3."


    Shadow: Bad! Bad T.O.S.! Back to your room, NOW!

    T.O.S.: Must… burn… heathen…

    Shadow: Burn him and you get no Brawl until October.

    T.O.S.:  [darthvader]NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!![/darthvader]


  5. Gray17 says:

    Yep, my point was that they decided to pay $5 million dollars to make a change of venue for a switch to a poorly recieve format. Their "downscaling" of it consisted of changing it from a money making activity which helped keep membership dues to a fraction of other trade organizations, to a break even proposition. 

    Now they’ve moved it back to the place they just payed $5 million to leave, and basically are just now trying to do the necessary scale backs in place like they should have from the start. Membership dues are soaring because E3 isn’t offsetting them, and there’s that early exit from contract fee to pay. The general hype and publicity surrounding E3 is down, and publishers are snubbing it left and right as being pointless.

    That’s not good business.

  6. Gray17 says:

    Dude, ultimately I don’t give a **** about E3. Never been interested in attending, payed only moderate attention to it. But I do think that their screwing around with it was a really really bad idea. Yes it had problems that needed fixing, but they utterly screwed up in their attempt to the tune of millions of dollars lost for nothing. How exactly is that good business mister smartass?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pro-Tip: When you downscale something that makes you a large net profit and pay a $5,000,000.00 early contract termination fee, you have a negative cash-flow effectively spending more money.

  8. Loudspeaker says:

    Uhm… For those who are going on and on about this smelling of bribery please take into consideration that those lovely agencies we love to hate NIMF, PTC, and their like contribute to political campaigns to get their crusades made into law.  That’s how it’s done in politics.  You scratch my back and I’ll look into passing some laws for you.  Politicians take action for votes and campaign contributions.  Those are their motivators.  The only way the video game industry is going to weather attacks from zelot groups like PTC (I’m not sure I want to count JT as his own group) is to contribute to those who would futher your interests.  In this case the ESA needs to get in gear and make some contributions to both the Democrats and Republicans.  Honestly I see this as another reason the member companies are leaving the ESA.  Microsoft has already shown what happens when you try to take the moral high ground by not contributing to the political system financially and then what happens when you do.  I’m sure most of us who hang out on GP remember the Microsoft Anti-Trust suit brought against them that started with great white shark teeth and ended with dentures biting at Microsoft.

    As an industry, I’m certain gaming would rather deal with those dentures.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  9. Anonymous says:

    …the profits of which had to be made up in increased membership fees, I think was Gray17’s point.

  10. the1jeffy says:

    And Gray17 is the first to pine for the lost E3!  Congrats!  You win the "I Don’t Understand Business Award" for the day!

    (Pro Tip: When you downscale something, it costs less money) 

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  11. Mr. Blond ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Artur Davis is a shock to me. I remember him co-sponsoring Joe Baca’s ratings enforcement law back in 2002-03.

  12. Cheater87 says:

    You think if they donate money to Hillary she will stop with her campaign to destroy the video game industry "for the sake of the childrens"???

  13. Gray17 says:

    If dues are quadrupling or whatever in order to pay for their little experiments with E3, it’s no wonder contributions are running slow. People are already ponying up more money than the expected, they aren’t going to be in a rush to give more.

  14. Cheeselikescereal says:

    I don’t really care what the ESA is fighting for, but I HATE it when lobbist groups give "Political Donations."

  15. the1jeffy says:

    You’re right, of course.  I should have said, "The ESA has been sucking," drum.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  16. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Uh, dude? That’s not funny. If you sign up, you can edit your posts and not have to deal with the CAPTCHA(sp?) or whatever the hell it is. Been too long since I signed up.



  17. Aliasalpha says:

    LIAR! Its a link, not a button! Im hiring jack thompson to sue you, I’m sure games made you do it.

  18. gamepolitics says:

    well, I don’t think the ESA sucks.

    This piece is straight-up news, as was last week’s report that id bailed. I DO think the decision to have Gov. Perry of Texas keynote E3 lies somewhere between horrid and outrageous, though.

  19. the1jeffy says:

    Man, I knew the ECA and the ESA would eventually come to a head, but daaamn has GP been banging the "ESA Sucks" drum lately.

    To be clear: I approve of this.

    Further clarification: This opinion has nothing to do with the de-CON-ifying of E3, which gamer kiddies still boo-hoo about (and [not so] secretly pine for, mis-believing that it will someday, somehow come back like a lost lover).  And everything to do with the fact that the ESA is pointed in the direction of MPAA/RIAA-ism.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  20. gamepolitics says:

    Actually, the ESA has always been involved in lobbying since its formation in 1994… This is simply using contributions to gather influence. 

  21. Voligne the Archon says:

    What a frightening turn of events, we have oil lobbyists and big business lobbyists, maybe the people like Jack Thompson will give us a break now that there are video game lobbyists. I mean, now we are all part of the club right?

  22. Anonymous says:

    "I’m really fairly glad to see this is going poorly. "

    I have a problem with this statement. Yes, the ESA is too heavyhanded in it’s approach on copyright protection. However, having an ESA is better than having no ESA. They’ve knocked down countless assine state laws that would damage the consumers and the producers. That’s probably the only major thing they’ve done (which affects us), but if the ESA falls apart, these bills will get passed again and their will be no organized group to defeat them. The ESA definitely needs to be restructed (i.e. just fire Gallagher already) and video game companies – who tell the ESA what to do on issues – need to be more lax on DMCA laws, but we all still need an ESA.


    I’m not surprised the ESA hasn’t given to any political candidate yet. The Democratic nomination is, technically, still going on and you don’t want to jump on the Obama boat quite yet when you can in a few weeks w/o any political gains or reparations. Here’s a future game question for you GP – Isn’t their a limit on how much money can PACs give to political candidates? If so, how much? Also, how much money can give to political parties?

  23. AM says:

    I’m really fairly glad to see this is going poorly.  On the one hand, it’s likely that the industry won’t push for people who want to regulate it heavily.  On the other, as the first poster noted, the ESA has been unacceptably heavy handed in its approach to copyright enforcement.  I work in the industry, and detest piracy, but I really, REALLY don’t want to see any money going toward candidates who are likely to feel that the First Sale Doctrine doesn’t apply to software (which the ESA would like), or that it’s somehow appropriate to use ICE manpower in mod chip raids.



  24. cjovalle says:

    Under the current political system, a great deal of the time money = access. That doesn’t mean that a given candidate will necessarily vote a certain way about specific issues, but it certainly gives people with money a chance to voice their opinions to the fund receiver- which is also the Constitutional challenge that some have made towards campaign finance reform, equating lobbying access with free speech.

    At any rate, since government affairs are one of the key areas under their Public Policy initiatives, I wonder how they are measuring their progress for the industry under that stated goal, particularly after this report.

  25. Anonymous says:


    And I can’t say I"m surprised at this turn of events giving developers are leaving.

  26. Koichan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I can’t be the only person that thinks this upon seeing this post:

    Political contributions = outright bribery to get your point across?

    Seems to be the way things work in politics, but it’s very sad to see 🙁

  27. JQuilty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Copyright cartels are groups like the RIAA, MPAA, and now the ESA. They lobby (legalized bribery) Congress to get overly restrictive copyright laws passed to make up for their inability to enter the digital age. Laws like the DMCA and the nonsensical PRO-IP act do things like criminalize breaking encryption for personal use (ie..breaking iTunes DRM for use on a non-Apple player), and in the case of the PRO-IP act, creating a copyright czar similar to the DEA’s drug czar.

    These laws also allow the RIAA to lie and use flimsy evidence to extort money from people in court, and Microsoft and Nintendo to have ICE raid someone’s house if they think they’re modding Xbox’s and Wii’s to play Japanese games….because that’s criminalized under the DMCA.

  28. Pominator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I have absolutely no idea what you just said or who you are, but, please explain.



    I think the ESA is being way too lighthanded with their donations and who they are donating to, they aren’t going to have any real effect on videogame legislation etc if they don’t be more forthright with their intentions and their donations

  29. JQuilty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Bleh. Just the last thing we need…another copyright cartel using legalized bribery to get outrageous crap like the "PRO-IP" Act through so they can go after people on BS reasons.


Comments are closed.