ESA Made Campaign Donation to Utah Attorney General

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R), whose office is currently reviewing video game legislation drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson, received a campaign contribution from the video game industry in 2008, according to public records obtained by GamePolitics.

The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, made a $3,000 donation to Shurtleff in May of 2008. The popular, moderate Republican would go on to win an unprecedented third term in November’s election.

At the same time, the ESA also made lesser contributions to a pair of state senators, Ross Romero (D) and John Valentine (R).

For his part, Shurtleff has been no stranger to video game issues in recent years.

– In 2005 he called for a boycott on Eidos’s cops-and-robbers shooter 25 to Life.

– In 2006 he appeared in a public service announcement advocating the ESRB rating system.

– In 2007 he advised the Utah Legislature to delay consideration of an earlier Jack Thompson-authored bill while a federal court considered the legality of a similar measure in Oklahoma. Afterward, Thompson called for Shurtleff’s impeachment. The Oklahoma law was eventually ruled unconstitutional.

UPDATE: In the original version of this article, Sen. Ross Romero was mistakenly listed as a Republican. He is a Democrat and that correction has been made.

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  1. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    I do not want to Know What would happen If JT Blew a fuse after his video game law was struck down(over his bad behavior in florida) It’ll be like the LA video game law failed and JT’s going to throw a Hissy fit only this time it’ll be times ten

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I wouldn’t. IF it were to be counted as a bribe, all campaign donations regardless of who contributed would be considered a bribe.

    I don’t know about you, but I like to donate to my favorite candidates if I feel it will help them get reelected.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  3. 0
    gamepolitics says:

    well, I’ve seen a few letters that he sent to Shurtleff over the last couple days and I recall at least one sort of offhand reference to the ESRB PSA.

    But, for now, he appears to be playing nicely. No guarantees as to the shelf life of that, however…

  4. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    True, but then, if you read his demand to Impeach Shurtleff after the last law failed, he pretty much made that claim. At the moment, he’s trying to stay on the good side of him, if the Law fails, he’ll revert to his old self.

  5. 0
    gamepolitics says:

    As I’ve said before, campaign donations are not bribes. Bribery requires a quid pro quo, an understanding between the parties that the money is buying something for the donor.

    Countless people and organizations give campaign donations for a variety of reasons.

    That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about this donation again in relation to the Utah bill.

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    In the two letters John Bruce has posted on line addressed to this AG he has yet to accuse him of being bribed by the games industry.

    He did however warn this AG that the games industry has a history of bribing and threatening politicians in order to defeat game laws. He used Louisiana as an example.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  7. 0
    Icehawk says:

    Does make you wonder, money (or trade etc) for a favor is older than recorded history.  Pay to play has been around for a llloongg time.   Some acutally bright politician in history must have noticed this and made it legal in the form of donations with safeguards.  If it is legal it is not bribery which is illegal, cannot have it both ways.   Dont really have to like it but the amounts in question are not large (and are capped) so the rampant potential for harm is just not there. 

    As for jackie and the AG.  No.  He did not have grounds for impeachment or if he had them he chose to so use them which is neigh impossible for jackie.  The mores of polite society and oft times the laws themselves mean nothing to one such as him.  The AG got in his way and had to be removed,  kind of akin to why jackie tried to sue Dennis and GP/ECA.  You will note the AG is still there as is Dennis so I would not get to excited about jackies threats.  

    I agree that this is likely to turn into a circus before the end.  jackie being who and what he is will just have to be in the spotlight and claim all victories (if any) while denying all failings.  The potential for amusement is there if the actors play their parts, sadly jackie tends to ignore or forget the script. 


  8. 0
    Benji says:

    Yeah, I used to think all political contributions were terrible because it basically amounted to bribery.  Truth is, the ESA isn’t buying this guy’s opinion on video game legislation.  The AG has already demonstrated that he takes a dim view of video game legislation, and as a result the ESA would like for him to stay in office.  If you call this bribery, then you’d also have to say that thousands of Americans ‘bribed’ Barack Obama into closing Guantanamo and banning controversial interrogation methods.

    Also, did JT have a basis under which the AG should have been impeached beyond ‘I don’t like him’?  Does he at least realize that you aren’t really supposed to impeach people for having done nothing other than disagreeing with you?

  9. 0
    Meohfumado says:

    Wait a minute….you mean a lobbyist group made donations to political campaigns?!?!?!

    Oh…my….GOD!!!!  This is shocking.  SHOCKING!


    "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

  10. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    We all know this is a donation and rather harmless. If the AG doesn’t bend over backwards over for BatJack (See Jack’s colorful history claiming he takes the role of Batman against porn :P) I’m sure he’ll resume his accusations to impeach him as well as to state that he is under the videogame industry payroll or something ridiculous like that he is involved in some sort of fabricated ESRB fraud.

    Either way I am curious to see what his reaction to Mr Thompson’s propose bill would be. Would Jack’s recent disbarrment have any impact to this proposal? Would the bill be considered unconstituational? Perhaps he might stamp approval on it and bring it to the federal court? All interesting questions…

  11. 0
    gamepolitics says:

    The circus may indeed be coming to town, as it did in Louisiana in 2006 and in Utah in 2007.

    Both were quite entertaining as political theater, although I’m sure the legislators and other officials involved don’t have fond remembrances.

    But, you know, here at GP I always like to publish the true and complete story, where ever it leads.

  12. 0
    Neeneko says:

    When I read ‘disbarred activist’ I got this wonderful mental image of some kind of activism professional sociaty that could kick people out who could then no longer be activists ^_^

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