Entries in Lobbying (4)


Rupert Murdoch's Co. and Execs Give Cash to Both Parties

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Across the pond, Brits are focused on the inquiry into the ways that media mogul Rupert Murdoch used his news empire to exert influence on the British government.

In the U.S., the open government website PoliticalMoneyline is reporting that Murdoch's News Corp., like many large companies, has been trying to exert its influence in Washington the old-fashioned way: paying for it.

Campaign finance and lobbying records show the company spent $1.36 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, and its executives have helped raise more than $500,000 for candidates from both parties since 2007.

Despite the perceived political leanings of the company's Fox News broadcast outlet, the corporate parent's donations have been split between Democrats and Republicans. Company execs have donated more than $20,000 to President Obama since he first began campaigning for president, and the company received attention in 2010 for a $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

News Corp. also gives through a political action committee, known as Fox Political Action Committee. According to a Sunlight Foundation report last year, the PAC's top recipients for the 2009-2010 election cycle were Democrats, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Howard Berman of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Lately, a particular fundraising focus for Murdoch's American arm has been the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. The company has directed $35,500 to Upton's leadership committee, including a $2,500 check from Murdoch himself.

The company has lobbied Upton's committee on a range of issues, including privacy legislation and intellectual property issues.

Both News Corp. officials and Upton's press office declined to comment on the donations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


With New Documents, Gingrich Tries to Diffuse Freddie Mac Frenzy

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newt Gingrich has tried to calm the grumbling over his consulting work for Freddie Mac by giving the appearance of transparency while flipping the issue around on his chief rival, Mitt Romney.

The Gingrich Group, the consulting firm that the eponymous former House speaker started, released another contract with Freddie Mac Tuesday night as Romney’s campaign continued to insist that Gingrich is hiding something. The documents show that Gingrich was hired in 1999 to work for Mitchell Delk, who was the mortgage giant’s top lobbyist.

Gingrich, listed as a “Contractor” in the agreement, was to advise Freddie Mac on “strategic planning and public policy.” In bold type, the contract says that “nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities.”

Still, Romney and others have characterized Gingrich’s role with Freddie Mac as that of a lobbyist, meeting with elected officials to sway them on legislation. Freddie Mac paid Gingrich $1.6 million between 1999 and 2007.

Gingrich Wednesday tried to deflect the barbs tying him to the toxic mortgage giant by drawing attention to the stock that Romney held in Fannie Mae and in Freddie Mac. “The question has to be, if Romney is such a great manager, how come he didn’t do anything as a stockholder about these two companies?” Gingrich said on Fox News.

It’s unclear whether more documents will be released by the Gingrich Group, which also goes by the name Center for Health Transformation. Asked whether more papers were coming, a spokeswoman for the group, Susan Meyers, said, “I don’t know.”

“I’m so tired of this,” she added.

If the nagging Freddie Mac spat is resolved, Gingrich still might have to weather turbulence over the ethics investigation into his conduct in the 1990s.

The Romney campaign has reignited that flame after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN Tuesday that Gingrich has no chance of being president because of his past. “That will never happen,” she said. “There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him, that’s their prerogative.”

Romney jumped on the comment.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m saying that all of the records that were part of the ethics investigation, all of the transcripts, all of the records have to be made public,” Romney said on Fox Wednesday morning. “Not just the final white-washed report, but the full record....We need to understand why that is, and those records need to be released because you know that if Nancy Pelosi knows those things right now, she will hand them to Barack Obama’s campaign if Speaker Gingrich were our nominee.”

Few people know what, if anything, remains in the private records of the 1997 ethics report that concluded that Gingrich had wrongly used a tax-exempt college course to further a political agenda. But the report was made public, and people familiar with the process told ABC News that it’s unlikely that a damaging tidbit could emerge if it even existed.

“He thinks that there’s a report,” a former Republican member of Congress who worked on the report said of Romney. “But when you have a hearing like that...the final report is made public. And the final report is public, and all the testimony and discussion is on the record and public.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Names Former La Raza Lobbyist as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has appointed former lobbyist Cecilia Muñoz to serve as the new director of the Domestic Policy Council, the White House announced Tuesday.

“Over the past three years, Cecilia has been a trusted advisor who has demonstrated sound judgment day in and day out,” Obama said in a statement. “Cecilia has done an extraordinary job working on behalf of middle class families, and I’m confident she’ll bring the same unwavering dedication to her new position.”

Muñoz, the former senior vice president for the controversial group National Council of La Raza, was one of the former lobbyists for whom President Obama signed a waiver permitting an exception from his campaign promise to, “close the revolving door that lets lobbyists come into government freely.” While La Raza supports expanding opportunities for the Latino community, critics say it does so at the expense of other enthic groups, and also supports illegal immigration, something the group denies.

Currently the director of Intergovernmental Affairs and lead liaison to the Hispanic community, Muñoz succeeds Melody Barnes as the White House’s chief domestic policy advisor. Barnes left her post at the White House at the end of last year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich to Release Freddie Mac Records, Denies Lobbying

Jessica McGowan/Getty Image(NEW YORK) -- He may be climbing in the polls, but Newt Gingrich has little time to bask in his renewed popularity as he finds himself defending his role and pay at Freddie Mac.

Gingrich’s campaign said Wednesday they will release all the documents they legally can of his contract with the once-beleaguered housing giant. Gingrich continued to staunchly deny reports that he ever lobbied for the group, but he skirted questions about the financial payouts he received from Freddie Mac for his contracting work.

Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that the former House Speaker made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consultation fees in a nine-year span. Sources told Bloomberg that in 2006, Gingrich was asked “to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.”

Gingrich says he never lobbied on behalf of Freddie Mac and that he simply offered “strategic advice over a long period of time.”

When asked about his compensation, the former congressman said he couldn’t verify the specific amount.

A Freddie Mac spokesman confirmed to ABC News that Gingrich was a consultant for the group, not a lobbyist, but would not disclose his financial payout or details of his contract.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio