Federal Politics

Published — July 18, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Murdoch’s News Corp lobbied on privacy issues as hacking controversy bubbled

Introduction

As the phone hacking scandal grows around Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, disclosure records show that the company spent over $1.5 million on federal lobbying in the first three months of this year — including lobbying on issues of digital privacy.

Disclosure forms filed with the Senate Office of Public Records show that News Corp’s American arm, News America Inc., employed seven in-house lobbyists supplemented by six outside lobbying firms hired by the company. The lobbyists worked on an array of issues relevant to broadcast television, but also crossed into issues of free trade, defense spending, and increasing the debt ceiling.

Notably, the company whose U.K. affiliate is under fire for alleged phone hacking and whose domestic operations are being investigated by the FBI, lobbied on issues including “online privacy,” consumer privacy protection bills such as the “BEST PRACTICES Act” and “Do Not Track Me Online Act,” and, simply, “privacy.”

Though lobbying disclosure rules require filers to be specific when listing issues and legislation on which they’ve lobbied, several of these categories were quite general and News America did not respond to requests for more details, including on which side of these issues the company was advocating.

In addition, by virtue of the company’s $1 million donation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last summer, News America may also be de facto bankrolling a second set of lobbyists. An iWatch News examination of the Chamber’s disclosure forms found significant activity on online copyright infringement issues, a major focus of News America’s lobbying. A story by the Guardian newspaper of London noted that the Chamber also worked to loosen the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. based companies from participating in the bribery of foreign officials — rules that potentially could come into play during the ongoing legal investigation of Murdoch’s empire.

The “BEST PRACTICES Act” was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., to protect the right of Internet users to decide “meaningful choices about the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information.” Similarly, the “Do Not Track Me Online Act” aims to create a “Do Not Call”-style list for Internet users, allowing them to opt out from online marketers gathering their data for advertising purposes. That bill, introduced in February by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., is currently stuck in committee.

News America and the lobbying firms hired by both did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the Bill of Rights permits petitioning the government for a redress of grievances and said the association’s policy positions “are always made by answering one question: Will this policy help stimulate private sector job creation?”

Last week, as the hacking story erupted, iWatch News reported on campaign contributions from Murdoch and his corporate PAC totaling millions, amid calls on members of Congress to return the money.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.