COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Under fire in a phone hacking scandal, News Corp. met a self-imposed deadline Friday for reporting its latest political contributions online, revealing $115,750 in contributions mostly to Democrats.
The company reported that its single largest contribution since January went to the Democratic Governors Association, which strongly criticized the media giant's $1.25 million in donations to its Republican counterpart ahead of the 2010 elections.
News Corp. or its affiliates also have given nearly $16,000 to state chapters of the Motion Picture Association of America, $5,000 to the California Republican Party and $2,000 to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 2014.
The company's board approved a new disclosure policy for its political giving in April after two 2010 donations by Rupert Murdoch, the Austrialian mogul who controls the company, raised concern among shareholders.
Murdoch gave $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and $1.25 million to the RGA, saying later that he hoped it would help Republican John Kasich, a former commentator on News Corp.'s Fox News. Kasich was elected as Ohio's governor.
News Corp. was the top donor to the RGA in 2010, according to research conducted by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Other top donors were Contran Corp., Devon Energy, Altria Group, and U.S. Sugar. The DGA's top donors were labor unions.
Denise Roth Barber, research director for the National Institute on Money in State Politics, said the Republican and Democratic governors associations took on the political role generally played by the national parties in 2010.
"The RGA became sort of the RNC (Republican National Committee), because the legislators and governors picked at the state level were the ones in charge of drawing the lines that will determine the outcome of the next congressional race," she said.
Ohio campaign filings show the RGA spent more than $5 million in the state ahead of the November election. Kasich led a Republican sweep of statewide offices and both chambers of the Legislature.
The national institute found that Fox Group affiliates and employees also gave nearly $1.5 million directly to state parties and candidates last year. Many of its 2011 donations revealed Friday also went to state-level politicians, mostly in California.
The company posted a notice on the new policy to its website without fanfare in April.
The policy called for the company — which also owns 20th Century Fox movie studio and The Wall Street Journal — to disclose political contributions first on Friday, then once a year each January.
Kasich, a former congressman, spent several years as a commentator and occasional guest host on Fox. Since winning the governor's race in November, he has remained a frequent guest on the network.
Kasich won the election after an expensive campaign against incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland.
Among News Corp. shareholders that raised concerns about the RGA and chamber donations was the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York, which supports social and economic justice causes.
The Democratic Governors Association filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission during the campaign alleging Fox provided Kasich with an illegal in-kind contribution when it displayed his website address during one of his appearances on the news channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." It later amended the complaint to reflect Murdoch's remark that he hoped the money would help Kasich.
In December, the commission found no violation of campaign finance laws.
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