News Corp. leans left by donating to Democrats

PAC of media powerhouse bankrolls liberals despite reputation for conservatism

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When it comes to political donations, Fox News' parent company is lately catering to liberals as much as conservatives.

News Corp.'s News America-FOXPAC political action committee contributed to five Democratic political candidates during January, with Republican candidates scoring a goose egg, Federal Election Commission records show.

January recipients of News America-FOXPAC cash include Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah ($5,000); Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. ($2,500); Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. ($1,500); Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. ($1,000); and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. ($500), according to a Center for Public Integrity review of the records. All the contributions are earmarked for 2014 political primaries except for $500 toward Landrieu's 2014 general election campaign.

In the spirit of being fair and balanced, News America-FOXPAC also contributed $15,000 in January to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which may by law accept significantly larger contributions than candidate committees.

The PAC ended January with more than $128,000 in its bank account.

Such bipartisan giving is emblematic of News America-FOXPAC's donation habits from the 2012 election cycle.

Its contributions to partisan PACs and national party committees, for example, skewed Republican.

But 52 percent of the more than $311,000 it gave to federal-level candidates went to Democrats, the rest to Republicans, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The 2006 election cycle was the most recent during which the PAC predominantly gave to Republican candidates.

Prominent Democrats receiving News America-FOXPAC cash last election cycle included Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, as well as House Minority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

And its support of Democrats provides a notable, if not striking contrast with Fox News' conservative reputation.

In addition to a slate of conservative hosts such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, the network's stable of Republican contributors include Dana Perino, President George W. Bush's press secretary; Oliver North, a national security official for President Ronald Reagan; former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee; syndicated columnist Cal Thomas; and Karl Rove, a top Bush adviser who helped found the nation's most well-funded super PAC, the GOP-backing American Crossroads, and its sister nonprofit group, Crossroads GPS.

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also contributed to Fox News for three years until the network dumped her this last month.

News Corp. officials did not return requests for comment, but the company details its political participation philosophy on its corporate website.

News Corp. is "active in the public policy process protecting the interests of our employees and shareholders," the company writes. Its PAC "is an integral component of our government relations strategy, which also includes grassroots communications and direct lobbying. These three elements work together to carry our message to Congress and to state office holders."

It further states that News America-FOXPAC "is a nonpartisan PAC" that aims to help "elect quality men and women, regardless of political party, who are dedicated to providing leadership in public service and promoting sound public policy."