April 27, 2012 -- 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.