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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black mantaRight. "Leave us alone to let us play our video games devoid of of deeper analysis and influence. They're just playthings." You do realize how damaging that is; potentially undoing everything we in the ECA have fought for to legitimize gaming?11/24/2014 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI have no idea what that means but hey, good luck with that and post a link when it's ready for prime time.11/24/2014 - 8:49pm
Wonderkarpno editorials unless absolutly necessary, no scored reviews. Reviews are going to be ambiguous ala classic Nintendo Power11/24/2014 - 8:47pm
WonderkarpI decided I'm going to pull the trigger on my website I've been working on. Getting some people together. I want to make a Gaming News Site that only cares about the Games.11/24/2014 - 8:46pm
Matthew Wilsonin the end, I dont think its a big deal.11/24/2014 - 8:44pm
WonderkarpRight, I'm not going to argue with Black Manta. I've already argued once today on the Internet. Thats one time too many. Anybody hear about the Star Wars Spinoff news?11/24/2014 - 8:43pm
black mantaIf it's imprtant at all.11/24/2014 - 8:43pm
black mantaI'm with Andrew. I fail to see how this really improves anything. The importance of this is overstated.11/24/2014 - 8:42pm
Matthew Wilsonit should be obvious what those links are, but more transparency is never a bad thing in my eyes.11/24/2014 - 8:42pm
Wonderkarpyeah.11/24/2014 - 8:41pm
black mantaAll I see is GG ruining everything it touches in the name of some misguided and twisted notion of "ethics."11/24/2014 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenWell, unless this was something the FTC was already working on. And still, it remains to be seen what its guideline updates actually say.11/24/2014 - 8:40pm
Wonderkarpand other media I suppose11/24/2014 - 8:39pm
WonderkarpI repeat, Its concidered a victory because, if its true, then it shows they are causing change in (Changes) Journalistic Practices in Games Media.11/24/2014 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpits not the easiest "Ethical Issue" to discuss. Its more trivial. I'm playing devils advocate on this one.11/24/2014 - 8:36pm
black mantaEthics in what? Advertising? All you're doing is needlessly complicating things. There's no "victory" in that.11/24/2014 - 8:35pm
WonderkarpIts just a article's title. Its concidered a victory because, if its true, then it shows they are causing change in ethics. We were discussing those ethics11/24/2014 - 8:33pm
Andrew EisenNot knowing what cards a retailer accepts beforehand can be a headache. Not knowing the site you came from to purchase a good gets a small percentage of the sale? I'm not seeing it.11/24/2014 - 8:32pm
black mantaFurther evidence that shows just how horribly misguided this movement is.11/24/2014 - 8:30pm
black mantaSorry, no. A little blurb stating the obvious is hardly a major "victory."11/24/2014 - 8:29pm
 

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