Murdoch donates $1m to Republican election fund


RUPERT MURDOCH has thrown his financial weight behind the Republican party, donating $1 million (€776,000) to help its candidates in the November elections. It is one of the biggest donations to the party by any individual or organisation.

The move comes in spite of Mr Murdoch’s praise during the 2008 White House race for Barack Obama, whom he described as a phenomenon of “rock star” proportions.

Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation said it supported the Republicans because the party had a pro-business agenda. Murdoch’s Fox News channel, New York Postand Wall Street Journalsupport the Republicans editorially.

The $1 million was donated to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in June, according to information given to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Democrats hold a slim majority of the 50 governorships, but politicians in both parties predict significant victories for the Republicans in November.

Jack Horner, vice-president of corporate affairs and communications at News Corporation in New York, said: “News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and organisations like the RGA, which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy.”

Mr Murdoch has historically tended to support politicians who might help his business empire or who he thinks are going to win. He switched support from the Conservatives to Labour in the run-up to the 1997 UK election.

He supported Mr Obama against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries, with the New York Post surprisingly coming out in favour of Mr Obama even though Ms Clinton was a senator for New York. But in the election, the Post, Wall Street Journal and Fox all backed the Republican contender, John McCain.

Although much of the media focus on the November elections is on the races for the Senate and House of Representatives, the governors wield immense power.

Republican optimism about success in the gubernatorial contests comes in part from their successful fundraising, having brought in $58 million in the first six months of this year. The Democratic Governors Association has raised $40 million.

One of the other big donors to the RGA was Wellpoint, the health insurance giant, which contributed $500,000. Wellpoint opposed Mr Obama’s healthcare reform legislation passed earlier this year. – ( Guardianservice)