The divergent political donations of music executives and employees – Billboard

The owners of some of the biggest music companies and their employees are further apart politically than they have ever been in the past.

While business owners like Madison Square Garden and Liberty Media continued to spend millions of dollars supporting Republican causes like the president donald trumpfrom the re-election campaign and Republican candidates to the House and Senate elections, employees of these companies are looking to Democratic candidates, especially the presidential challenger Joe Bidenin record numbers.

Phil Anschutz, owner of AEG, and his family do not support Trump financially, but have spent $1.3 million to support the re-election of Senate Republicans. Meanwhile, the company’s CEO Jay Marciano donated more than $27,000 to Democratic causes, including the Biden campaign. AEG employees made more than 1,700 donations totaling $91,726 to Democrats. That’s a 6% increase from 2016, when employees spent $86,447 to support hillary clinton and other Democrats, according to data compiled by Billboard of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and, a political donation tracking website created by the Center for Responsive Politics.

“I do not like it [Phil] supports all of these right-wing causes, but his political beliefs are so far removed from the work we do and the values ​​of our company,” says a senior executive, who notes that despite being very conservative, Anschutz supports LGBT causes and gave millions to groups some describe as being left of center.

Employees of Liberty Media, which owns SiriusXM, Pandora and a 35% stake in Live Nation, have for the first time donated more money to Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. In 2020, company members gave $209,374 to Democrats and $92,485 to Republicans, more than a 2-to-1 margin. In 2016, Democrats received just $134,636 while $385 $700 was spent on Republican candidates, while in 2012 only $12,500 was spent on Democrats, including $355,596 for the GOP.

The candidate who received the most money from Liberty employees in 2020 was the candidate for the United States Senate John Hickenlooperthe former Democratic governor of Colorado who received $94,814. Greg Maffei, Liberty’s general manager, also backed Hickenlooper, but for a different race. Maffei donated $100,000 to Shared Purpose, a Super PAC that supported Hickenlooper’s failed bid for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential campaign. Liberty employees, on the other hand, donated almost exclusively to Hickenlooper’s subsequent campaign to unseat the Republican senator. Cory Gardnerwho received $11,200 from Maffei.

In fact, Maffei spent $73,000 trying to keep the Senate under Republican control. Democrats would need to win three seats to take control of the chamber if Biden wins the White House, a scenario that would split the Senate 50-50 with a potential vice president Kamala Harris provide the deciding vote.

In addition to supporting different candidates, Liberty employees and their bosses also use different methods of giving. Maffei and Malone funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican coffers through loosely regulated political committees and super PACS, while almost all employee donations go directly to Democrat campaigns, usually in the form of small donations .

Direct donations are much more regulated and capped at $5,600 per candidate ($2,800 in the primary and $2,800 in a general election). The employees of James Dolan‘s Madison Square Garden overwhelmingly backs Democratic candidates with around 1,000 donations to their campaigns — compared to just 50 to Republican candidates — totaling $27,000 to Dems like Biden for an average donation of $27. (Neither AEG nor Liberty has commented on this article. MSG issued a statement to Billboard noting, “Mr. Dolan’s contributions to Trump are public knowledge.” »

“We’re seeing the volume of small donations continue to grow with each election cycle, in part because it’s easy for someone to donate to a candidate through their phone while watching TV,” said Brendan Quinnspokesperson for

While Dolan, billionaire owner and chairman of MSG, is bound by the same restrictions on how much he can donate directly to Trump, he was able to make additional direct contributions of $745,000 ($387,000 in 2015 and 2016). campaign committees, thanks to the Supreme Court. The Court’s 2014 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which removed caps on how much wealthy individuals could donate directly to joint fundraising committees.

Another landmark decision was the 2010 Citizens United v FEC case, which paved the way for Super PACs to allow unlimited donations to independent groups working on behalf of candidates. Chairman of Dolan, Maffei and Liberty Media John Malone all donated to Super PACs. This cycle, MSG donated $500,000 to a PAC called No Labels, which supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Malone gave $1 million to the 1820 PAC, which supports the Republican senator. Susan Collins‘ Maine re-election bid. As a company, Liberty donated $50,000 to a group called Strength is Security.

Other political contributions made by music industry billionaires do not fit into any category and include donations made in January 2017 to support Trump’s inauguration. OpenSecrets records show the owner of Warner Music Group Len Blatavik gave Trump’s nominating committee $1 million through his company Access Industries, as did Madison Square Garden. Owner of the Los Angeles Rams Stan Kroenke, which built the $5 billion SoFi stadium next to the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., also donated $1 million to the committee. Liberty Media’s Malone and Maffei gave the committee $250,000 each. Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp, owner of the Venetian Hotel and the Las Vegas Exam Logmade the inaugural committee the largest individual gift of $5 million.

“We’ve found that some people just won’t work at a company if they find out how their employer is making political donations, while others will join the company hesitantly but be careful about their donations,” Quinn said. OpenSecrets. “It depends on how the economy is doing and right now there’s not a lot of work available, so political considerations are usually at the bottom of people’s lists.”