ESA to PAC up politicians

Industry trade group forms political action committee to donate up to $100,000 to presidential and congressional candidates this year.

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From copyright concerns to virtual-property taxation and first amendment protection for games, the Entertainment Software Association has a wide variety of interests to represent in Washington, DC. The gaming industry trade group has been spending millions annually on lobbying lawmakers, but The New York Times is reporting that the ESA is preparing to put money more directly in politicians' pockets.

By the end of March, the ESA will have its own political action committee up and running, donating money to the campaigns of politicians whose goals and motives match up with those of the gaming industry. ESA president Michael Gallagher told the paper the PAC will donate between $50,000 and $100,000 to national candidates this year. The PAC being formed will be subject to a legal limit of $5,000 donated to each candidate.

While the ESA already spends more on federal lobbying than its film and music counterparts, and the PAC's donations will be in line with those industries' comparable operations, Gallagher said the gaming trade group still lacks the influence of other entertainment industries. One reason for that, Gallagher noted, is that executives in other industries help raise millions of dollars for their chosen candidates.

"This is an important step in the political maturation process of the industry that we are ready to take now," Gallagher told the paper. "This is about identifying and supporting champions for the game industry on Capitol Hill so that they support us."

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