News Corp., owner of the Fox network, Fox News and newspapers including the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, gave $1 million in late June to the Republican Governors Association, making it one of the largest corporate donors to the GOP group this election season.
The donation, disclosed in Internal Revenue Service filings, marks a shift for the media giant, which traditionally has given smaller sums to candidates and committees and spread them relatively evenly between the two parties.
News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner said the contribution was intended to promote the company's core beliefs. "News Corporation has always believed in the power of free markets and in organizations like the RGA, which have a pro-business agenda and support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," he said.
He added, "The corporate donation has no impact on the reporting activities of our newsgathering organizations. There is a strict wall between business and editorial and the corporate office does not consult with our newsgathering organizations ... before making donations."
News Corp. and other network owners are tussling with cable companies over licensing fees cable companies pay to broadcast networks' channels. Amid lobbying in Washington, the fight has in some cases flared up at the state level.
Between 2002 and 2009, News Corp. gave $86,000 to the RGA and the Republican State Leadership Committee, according to IRS records. In the same span, the company gave $60,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association.
At the federal level, News Corp.'s political action committee, funded by donations from employees, has slightly favored Democrats over Republicans in recent congressional races, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. So far this year, the PAC has given about $78,000 to Democrats and $66,500 to Republicans.